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Full text of "Pioneer mothers of the West; or, Daring and heroic deeds of American women"

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PIONEER MOTHERS OF THE WEST ; 



OR, 



DARING AND HEROIC DEEDS 
OF AMERICAN WOMEN. 



COMPRISING 



THRILLING EXAMPLES OF COURAGE, FORTITUDE, 
DEVOTEDNESS, AND SELF-SACRIFICE. 



8T 



JOHN FROST, LL.D., 

AUTHOR OF "PICTORIAL HISToP.^ OF THE WORLD," "HISTORY 
OF THE UNITED STATES," ETC. 



BOSTON: 
LEE AND SHEPARD. 

1875. 



Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by 

G . G . EVANS, 

the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of 
Feanylvam&. 



Stack 
Annex 

f 
5I& 



ins 1 



PREFACE. 




THE heroism of woman is the heroism of the heart. 
Her deeds of daring and endurance are prompted by 
affection. While her husband, her children, and all 
the other objects of tenderness are safe, her heroic 
capabilities repose in peace, and external troubles have 
little power to disturb her serenity. But when danger 
threatens the household, when the lurking savage is 
seen near the dwelling, or the war-whoop is heard in 
the surrounding woods, the matron becomes a heroine, 
and is ready to peril life, without a moment's hesita- 
tion, in the approaching conflict. When the family is 
overpowered, and the dwelling burnt with all its pre- 
cious household treasures, she submits without a mur- 
mur ; but when the life of husband or child is menaced, 
she throws herself beneath the threatening tomahawk, 



IV PREFACE. 

and Is ready to receive the descending blow to save 
the loved one. 

Captured and dragged away from her home, she 
endures fatigue, braves danger, bears contumely, and 
sometimes deals the death-blow to the sleeping captors, 
to save the lives of her children. 

Such is woman's heroism. Such heroism it is the 
purpose of this collection of narratives to illustrate. 
If the reader will bear in mind, as he peruses these 
thrilling histories of woman's noble deeds, that affec- 
tion prompts her daring, this volume will afford him 
much instruction as to the true character of woman. 
It will show her noble generosity and self-devotion in 
their true light ; and will prove that chivalrous cour- 
tesy, which, by common consent, is always and every 
where in our noble country, accorded to woman, is no 
more than her well merited reward. 

The Earl of Ellesmere, in his late speech at the 
Boston School Festival, said that " in America an 
unprotected woman is unknown." So let it be f ji 
ever! 



CONTENTS. 



HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST, 1 

MRS. HOWE, 10 

MRS. NEFF, 17 

MRS. PORTER, 20 

MRS. CLENDENEN, 22 

THE WIFE AND DAUGHTERS OF DANIEL BOONE, 26 

THE WAR- WOMAN CREEK, 32 

ELIZABETH ZANE, 37 

MRS. CUNNINGHAM, . 47 

MRS. BLAND AND MRS. POLK, 52 

MASSY HERBESOJS, 55 

MRS. WHITE, 59 

MRS. DUREK, 61 

MRS. ROWAN, 65 

Miss HECKEWELDER, 68 

MRS. TACKETT, THE CAPTIVE, 73 

MRS. MERRIL, 79 

THE ESCAPE OF MRS. COLEMAN, 81 

THE SISTERS FLEMING, 85 

MRS. PARKER AND DAUGHTER, 100 

EXPERIENCE BOZARTH, 104 

A HEROINE WITHOUT A NAME, 107 

MRS. RUHAMA BuiLDERBACK, 109 

THE WIDOW SCRAGGS, , 114 

(v) 



VI CONTENTS. 

MRS. WOODS 120 

THE CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY, 122 

HEROISM OF WOMEN AT BRYANT'S STATION, 104 

MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO, 169 

MRS. PURSLEY, 184 

MARY HART, 191 

A YOUNO HEROINE, 204 

MRS. DAVIESS, 206 

MARY CHASE, 213 

M RS. DORION, 2!}2 

WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS, 239 

Miss WASHBURN, 268 

THE HUNTER'S WIFE, 279 

MRS. JORDAN'S CAPTIVITY, 294 

CAPTIVITY AND SUFFERINGS OF THE GILBERT FAMILY, 299 

THE EVENTFUL SHOT 346 



HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



THE denizens of the Eastern States of our glorious 
union are accustomed to regard the west as the regions 
of romance and adventure a sort of American fairy 
land, whose people are ennobled by generous and chi- 
valric sentiments, whose history abounds with thrilling 
adventures, startling incidents, and surprising changes 
a land where cities spring up with a celerity which 
rivals the feats of Aladdin's palace-building Genius 
and where fortunes are made with a facility only 
surpassed by the wonders of Aladdin's Lamp, 

But the present security and prosperity of the west 
have been purchased by the blood of the first settlers. 
Erery inch of their beautiful country had to be won 
from a cruel and savage foe by unheard-of toils, 
dangers, and conflicts. In these terrible border wars, 
which marked the early years of the western settle- 
ments, the men signalized themselves by prodigies of 
valor, enterprise, and endurance ; while the women 



8 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

rivalled them in all these virtues, affording often 
the most splendid examples of that spirit of self-sac- 
rifice and devotion which can only be prompted by 
disinterested affection. 

Of these instances of female heroism, running 
through the whole period of western history, and 
coming down to the present time, many have been 
preserved by historians and annalists ; and it is our 
purpose in the present volume to lay them before the 
reader in their native, unadorned simplicity. The 
actions speak for themselves, and require no embel- 
lishment of fine writing. We shall, wherever it is 
practicable, preserve the language of the original nar- 
rator with all its racy originality. This course of 
proceeding we regard as most certain to present a 
true picture of the persons and events which will 
illustrate the early history of the west. A single 
expression, some homely epithet, or household word, 
often teems with associations, and brings before us 
the true character of the scene in all its life-like fea- 
tures all its original vividness of coloring. 

The heroic deeds of these noble American women, 
who first confronted the dangers of the western wil- 
derness are full of instruction. They teach us what 
women are capable of; they show us how dearly the 
blessings we now enjoy were purchased by those who 
went before us in the march of ages, they furnish 
abundant themes for meditation and study in the mys- 
teries of human character and they present to us, 



HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 9 

by the strong contrast of past times with the present, 
occasion for thankfulness, that in the present age, and 
in our own quiet homes, the danger of the savage 
border wars and Indian massacres has passed away 
never to return. 

Oar women of the present age may be heroines, no 
doubt, in another way ; and the occasions for self- 
sacrifice and noble generosity will still present them- 
selves and still be heroically met. But the original 
Heroines of the West will always maintain their un- 
rivalled place in the annals of our country, illustrious, 
revered, and "alcne in their glory." 



MRS. HOWE. 

The following narrative we copy from a periodical. 
It appears to have been extracted from a biography 
of General Putnam. 

"At the house of Colonel Schuyler, Major Putnam 
became acquainted with Mrs. Howe, a fair captive, 
whose history would not be read without emotion, if it 
could be written in the same manner in which I have 
often heard it told. She was still young and hand- 
some herself, though she had two daughters of mar- 
riageable age. Distress, which had taken somewhat 
from the original redundancy of her bloom, and added 
a softening paleness to her cheeks, rendering her ap- 
pearance the more engaging. Her face, that seemed 
to have been formed for the assemblage of dimpled 
smiles, was clouded with care. The natural sweetness 
was not, however, soured by despondency and petu- 
lance, but chastened by humility and resignation. 
This mild daughter of sorrow looked as if she had 
known the day of prosperity, when serenity and glad- 
ness of soul were the inmates of her bosom. That 
day was past, and the once lively features now as- 
sumed a tender melancholy, which witnessed her irn- 
(10) 



MRS. HOWE. 11 

parable loss. She needed not the customary weeds 
of mourning, or the fallacious pageantry of woe, to 
prove her widowed state. She was in that stage of 
affliction when the excess is so far abated as to per- 
mit the subject to be drawn into conversation, without 
opening the wound afresh. It is then rather a source 
of pleasure than pain to dwell upon the circumstances 
in narration. Every thing conspired to make her 
story interesting. Her first husband had been killed 
and scalped by the Indians some years before. By 
an unexpected assault, in 1756, upon Fort Dummer, 
where she happened to be present with Mr. Howe, her 
second husband, the savages carried the fort, mur- 
dered the greater part of the garrison, mangled in 
death her husband, and led her away with seven 
children into captivity. She was for some months 
kept with them ; and during their rambles she was 
frequently on the point of perishing with hunger, and 
as often subjected to hardships seemingly intolerable 
to one of so delicate a frame. Some time after the 
career of her miseries began, the Indians selected a 
couple of their young men to marry her daughters. 
The fright and disgust which the intelligence of this 
intention occasioned to these poor young creatures, 
added infinitely to the sorrows and perplexity of the 
frantic mother. To prevent the hated connection, all 
the activity of female resource was called into exer- 
tion. She found an opportunity of conveying to the 
governor a petition, that her daughters might be re- 



12 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ceived into a convent for the sake of securing the 
salvation of their souls. Happily the pious fraud 
succeeded. 

" About the same time the savages separated, and 
carried off her other five children into different tribes. 
She was ransomed by an elderly French officer, for 
four hundred livres. Of no avail were the cries of 
this tender mother a mother desolated by the loss 
of her children, who were thus torn from her fond 
embraces, and removed many hundred miles from 
each other, into the utmost recesses of Canada. With 
them (could they have been kept together) she would 
most willingly have wandered to the extremities of the 
world, and accepted as a desirable portion the cruel 
lot of slavery for life. But she was precluded from 
the sweet hope of ever beholding them again. The 
insufferable pang of parting, and the idea of eternal 
separation, planted the arrows of despair deep in her 
Boul. Though all the world was no better than a 
desert, and all its inhabitants were then indifferent to 
her, yet the loveliness of her appearance in sorrow 
had awakened affections which, in the aggravation of 
her troubles, were to become a new source of afflictions. 

" The officer who bought her of the Indians had a 
son, who also held a commission, and resided with his 
father. During her continuance in the same house, 
at St. John's, the double attachment of the father and 
son, rendered her situation extremely distressing. It is 
true, the calmness of age delighted to gaze respectfully 



MRS. HOWE. 13 

on her beauty ; but the impetuosity of youth was fired 
to madness by the sight of her charms. One d \ y, the 
son, "whose attentions had been long lavished upon her 
in vain, finding her alone in a chamber, forcibly seized 
her hand, and solemnly declared that he would now 
satiate the passion which she had so long refused to 
indulge. She recurred to entreaties, struggles, and 
tears, those prevalent female weapons which the dis- 
traction of danger not less than the promptness of 
genius is wont to supply ; while he in the delirium of 
vexation and desire, snatched a dagger, and swore he 
would put an end to her life if she persisted to struggle. 
Mrs. Howe, assuming the dignity of conscious virtue, 
told him it was what she most ardently wished, and 
bade him plunge the weapon through her heart, since 
the mutual importunities and jealousies of such rivals 
had rendered her life, though innocent, more irksome 
and insupportable than death itself. Struck with a 
momentary compunction, he seemed to relent, and relax 
his hold ; and she, availing herself of his irresolution, 
or absence of mind, escaped down the stairs. In her 
disordered state, she told the whole transaction to his 
father, who directed her, in future, to sleep in a small 
bed at the foot of that in which his wife lodged. The 
affair soon reached the governor's ears, and the young 
officer was, shortly afterwards, sent on a tour of duty 
to Detroit. 

" This gave her a short respite ; but she dreaded 
his return, and the humiliating insults for which 



14 niSxvuiC WOMEN OF THE WEST 

she might be reserved. Her children, too, were ever 
present in her melancholy mind. A stranger, a widow, 
a captive, she knew not where to apply for relief. She 
had heard of the name of Schuyler she was yet to 
learn, that it was only another appellation for the friend 
of suffering humanity. As that excellent man was 
on his way from Quebec to the Jerseys, under a parole, 
for a limited time, she came, with feeble and trem- 
bling steps, to him. The same maternal passion which 
sometimes overcomes the timidity of nature in the 
birds, when plundered of their callow nestlings, em- 
boldened her, notwithstanding her native diffidence, 
to disclose those griefs which were ever ready to de- 
vour her in silence. While her delicate aspect was 
heightened to a glowing blush, for fear of offending 
by an inexcusable importunity, or of transgressing 
the rules of propriety, by representing herself as being 
an object of admiration, she told, with artless simpli- 
city, all the story of her woes. Colonel Schuyler, 
from that moment, became her protector, and endea- 
voured to procure her liberty. The person who pur- 
chased her of the Indians, unwilling to part with so 
fair a purchase, demanded a thousand livres as her 
ransom. But Colonel Schuyler, on his return to 
Quebec, obtained from the governor an order, in con- 
sequence of which Mrs. Howe was given up to him 
for four hundred livres ; nor did his active goodness 
rest until every one of her five sons was restored 
to her. 



MRS. HOWE. 15 

" Business having made it necessary that Colonel 
Bchuyler should precede the prisoners who were ex- 
changed, he recommended the fair captive to the pro- 
tection of his friend Putnam. She had just recovered 
from the meazles, when the party was preparing to 
set off for their homes. By this time the young 
French officer had returned, with his passion rather 
increased than abated by absence. He pursued her 
wheresoever she went, and, although he could make 
no advances in her affection, he seemed resolved, by 
perseverance, to carry his point. Mrs. Howe, terri- 
fied by his treatment, was obliged to keep constantly 
near Major. Putnam, who informed the young officer 
that he should protect that lady at the risk of his life. 

" In the long march from captivity, through an in- 
hospitable wilderness, encumbered with five small 
children, she suffered incredible hardships. Though 
endowed with masculine fortitude, she was truly fe- 
minine in strength, and must have fainted by the 
way, had it not been for the assistance of Major Put- 
nam. There were a thousand good offices which the 
helplessness of her condition demanded, and which 
the gentleness of his nature delighted to perform. 
He assisted in leading her little ones, and in carrying 
them over the swampy grounds and runs of water, 
with which their course was frequently intersected. 
He mingled his own mess with that of the widow and 
the fatherless, and assisted them in supplying and 
preparing their provisions. Upon arriving within the 



16 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

settlements, they experienced a reciprocal regret at 
separation, and were only consoled by the expectation 
of soon mingling in the embraces of their former 
acquaintances and dearest connections. 

" After the conquest of Canada, in 1760, she made 
a journey to Quebec, in order to bring back her two 
daughters, whom she had left in a convent. She 
found one of them married to a French officer. The 
other having contracted a great fondness for the reli- 
gious sisterhood, with reluctance consented to leave 
them and return home." 



MRS. NEFF. 

THE terrible defeat of the colonial forces under Ge- 
neral Braddock, in 1755, was followed by a series of 
savage depredations unparalleled upqn the frontier. 
The border settlements of Virginia an& Pennsylvania, 
being left completely exposed, were nearly abandoned. 
The inhabitants fled to the forts and block-houses, 
leaving their homes, which had cost them much labor 
and hardship, to the torch of the Indian. Death and 
desolation visited a great extent of that beautiful re- 
gion where civilized men had begun to tame the 
wilderness. 

Some of the borderers were not fortunate enough 
to reach places of security before the bursting of the 
storm. Among these was a Mrs. Neif, who lived upon 
the south branch of the Wappatomoca. She was sur- 
prised by a party of fourteen savages, who seized and 
bound her, plundered her house, and then started for 
2 (17) 



18 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

their homes by way of Fort Pleasant. On the second 
night of their journey, they reached the vicinity of 
the fort, which stood on the south branch of the Po- 
tomac, near what is known as "the trough." Mrs. 
Neff was left in the care of an old Indian. The other 
warriors separated into parties, that they might better 
watch the fort. 

Mrs. Neff was a woman of cool, determined spirit. 
She seemed perfectly resigned to her captivity, but 
was nevertheless eagerly seeking an opportunity to 
escape, and to give the garrison notice of the enemy 
being at hand. At a late hour of the night, she dis- 
covered that the old warrior was asleep. Noiselessly 
stealing from his side, she ran off through the woods. 
Soon after, the old Indian awoke, saw that his pri- 
soner had escaped, and gave the alarm by firing his 
gun and' raising a yell. But the courageous woman 
had the advantage of a long start, and a thorough 
knowledge of the ground. She ran between the two 
parties who were watching for her, and after a short 
but fearful race, succeeded in reaching Fort Pleasant. 
The garrison being aroused, Mrs. Neff communicated 
information as to the position of the Indians, and a 
sally was resolved upon the next morning. 

After the escape of their captive, the Indians as- 
sembled in a deep glen near the fort, where they in- 
tended to lie in ambush, for stragglers. Early the 
next morning, sixteen men, well mounted and armed, 
left the fort, and after a short search discovered the 



MRS. NEFF. 19 

encampment of the enemy by the smoke of their fire. 
The whites divided themselves into two parties, in- 
tending to inclose the Indians. But a small dog 
starting a rabbit, gave the red men notice of the ap- 
proach of danger, and cautiously moving off, they 
passed between the two parties of white men unobserved, 
took position between them and their horses, and opened 
a destructive fire. A desperate battle ensued, both 
parties displayed the most indomitable courage. The 
Indians were victorious, chiefly from the slaughter 
committed by their first fire. Seven of the whites 
were killed, and four wounded. The remaining five 
retreated to the fort. The loss of the Indians, how- 
ever, was so severe that the survivors made an imme- 
diate march for home. They had intended to sur- 
prise the fort ; but the courage of Mrs. Neff frustrated 
their design, and saved a large number of the garrison 
from massacre. The heroine survived the perils of the 
border war, and was held in high esteem for her many 
good qualities of head and heart. 



MRS. PORTER. 

DURING the terrible Indian war, upon the frontier 
of Pennsylvania and Virginia, instigated by the great 
Pontiac, a Mr. Porter resided "in Sinking Valley, 
Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania. One day, when he 
had gone to the mill, leaving Mrs. Porter alone, some 
Indians approached the house. Mrs. Porter first 
caught sight of one savage coming towards the door. 
Her husband being a militia captain, had a sword and 
a rifle in the house. She boldly took down the sword, 
and having set the door about half open, waited 
behind it until the Indian entered, when she split his 
head open. Another savage then entered, and met 
the same fate. The third, seeing the slaughter of his 
comrades, did not attempt to enter at that time. Mrs. 
Porter then took the gun, and went up stairs, with 
the hope of finding an opportunity of shooting the 
savage from the port-holes. But the Indian followed 
her up stairs. He had no sooner reached the upper 
floor, than the brave woman turned and shot him dead. 

Mrs. Porter now believed that she had slaughtered 
all her foes. Going down stairs cautiously, she recon- 
(20) 



MRS. PORTER. 21 

noitred in all directions around the house, and being 

' O 

satisfied that she had a clear field, fled swiftly in the 
path by which she knew her husband would return. 
She soon met him, and telling him of the circumstances, 
mounted the horse, and rode away with him to a 
neighboring block-house. The next morning, a party 
of whites was collected, and marching to the scene of 
Mrs. Porter's heroism, found that other Indians had 
been there, and had burned the house and barn, partly 
from revenge, and partly to conceal the evidence of 
their discomfiture by a woman. The bones of the slain 
savages however, were found among the ashes. 



MRS. CLENDENNIN. 

THE very sight of Indians was terrible to many 
women on the frontier. The savages could not be 
looked upon without calling to mind the horrid work 
of the tomahawk and scalping-knife the desolated 
home and the butchered relatives. To rise superior 
to this feeling of dread was the merit of a large num- 
ber of bold-spirited daughters of tbo wilderness. But 
we question whether any other woman than Mrs. 
Clendennin would have the courage, amid scenes of 
blood, to denounce the savages, from chief to squaw, 
as cowardly and treacherous. 

During the year 1763, a party of about fifty Sha- 
wanese, under the command of the able chief Corn- 
stalk, made a descent upon the Greenbriar settlements, 
of Western Virginia. They professed to entertain 
friendly intentions, and as no hostilities had occurred 
for some time in that region, the inhabitants were 
lulled into the belief that there was no danger. The 
Indians met with every demonstration cf a welcome 
(22) 



MRS. CLENDENNIN. 23 

and abundant hospitality. Suddenly they fell upon 
the people at Muddy Creek, butchered the men, and 
made captives of the women and children. 

A visit was next made to the settlement of Big 
Levels, where Archibald Clendennin had erected a 
rude block-house, and where were gathered a consi- 
derable number of families. Foolishly unsuspicious, 
the whites entertained the savages as friends. Mr. 
Clendennin, a man distinguished for his generosity and 
hospitality, had just brought in three fine elk, upon 
which the treacherous Indians feasted. One of the 
inmates of the house was a decrepit old woman, with 
an ulcerated limb. She undressed the member, and 
asked an Indian if he could cure it. "Yes," he re- 
plied, and immediately sunk his tomahawk into her 
head. This was the signal for massacre, and in a 
few minutes, every man in the house was put to death. 
The cries of the women and children alarmed a man 
in the yard, who escaped, and reported the circum- 
stances to the settlement at Jackson's river. The 
people would scarcely believe him ; but the Indians 
soon appeared, and massacred the families that 
attempted to escape. 

Flushed with triumph and almost sated with blood, 
the Indians now marched off in the direction of tho 
Ohio. Mrs. Clendennin was not intimidated by the 
scenes of horror through which she had passed. She 
had seen her husband and friends treacherously 
butchered ; but, though a woman of keen sensibility, 



24 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

"her spirit was firm. Indignant at the treachery 
and cruelty of the Indians, she loudly abused them, 
and taunted them with lacking the hearts of great 
warriors, who met their foes in fair and open con- 
flict. The savages were astounded. They tried 
to frighten her by flapping the bloody scalp of her 
husband in her face, and twirling their tomahawks 
above her head in a threatening manner. Mrs. 
Clendennin was undaunted, and continued to ex- 
press her indignation and detestation. Probably 
the savages admired her courage ; for they did not 
attempt to inflict any serious injury upon her. 

On the day after her capture, Mrs. Clendennin, 
while marching among the other hapless prisoners, 
and carrying her child, saw an opportunity, Avhich 
she instantly resolved to seize. Giving her child 
to a woman, who promised to take charge of it, 
the heroic mother slipped unobserved into a dense 
thicket. After the march had been continued a 
short distance, the child began to cry. An Indian 
inquired concerning the mother, but obtained no 
satisfactory reply. He then swore he would 
" bring the cow to the calf," and, taking it by the 
heels, dashed out its brains against a tree. 

Mrs. Clendennin succeeded in reaching her deso- 
late home. No sign of life was to be seen there. The 
mangled bodies of her husband and friends were 
strewn around : all she could do was to give them 
decent interment, which she accomplished with the 



MRS. CLENDENNIN. 25 

lid of people from neighboring settlements. Through- 
out the trying scenes of the massacre and the cap- 
tivity, Mrs. Clendennin acted with extraordinary firm- 
ness of spirit, and proved herself worthy to be ranked 
with the noblest women of history. 



THE WIFE AND DAUGHTERS OF 
DANIEL BOONE. 

THE daring courage of Daniel Boone, the father pf 
Kentucky, has frequently been eulogized. It was cer- 
tainly a great display of hardihood for him to venture 
alone in the forests of " the dark and hloody ground," 
where he was surrounded by swarms of vigilant sa- 
vages. It seemed like running into the very jaws of 
death. The manner in which he surmounted all perils 
and hardships is also worthy of admiration. As bold 
as he was, no man was possessed of more caution and 
prudence, and had Kentucky pioneers always sub- 
mitted to his judicious counsel, many terrible disasters 
might have been avoided. But whatever praise we 
concede to Boone, we must remember that his wife 
and daughters also deserve our eulogy. He was a 
bold and skilful Indian fighter, and accustomed to 
scenes of danger and death. They belonged to what 
is commonly called a "weaker sex," were unaccus- 
tomed to the wilderness, and to the constant alarms 
of savage warfare ; yet they ventured to accompany 
(26) 



WIFE AND DAUGHTERS OF DANIEL BOONE. 27 

the pioneer far into the forest, hundred of miles from 
the settlements, with protectors insignificantly weak 
in comparison with the vast numbers of savages who 
were known to visit the hunting-grounds of Kentucky. 
By tho journey alone, they proved themselves to 
possess unusual hardihood. 

After his first long hunting expedition in Kentucky, 
Daniel Boone returned to North Carolina with the 
determination to sell his farm, and remove, with his 
family, to the wilderness. 

Accordingly, on the 25th of September, 1771, hav- 
ing disposed of all the property which he could not 
take with him, he took leave of his friends, and com- 
menced his journey to the west. A number of milch 
cows, and horses, laden with a few necessary utensils, 
formed the whole of his baggage. His wife and children 
were mounted on horseback and accompanied him, 
every one regarding them as devoted to destruction. 
In Powell's valley they were joined by five more fa- 
milies and forty men well armed. Encouraged by this 
accession of strength, they advanced with additional 
confidence, but had soon a severe warning of the future 
dangers which awaited them. When near Cumberland 
mountain, their rear was suddenly attacked with great 
fury by a scouting party of Indians, and thrown into 
considerable confusion. 

The party, however, soon rallied, and being accus- 
tomed to Indian warfare, returned the fire with such 
spirit and effect, that the Indians were repulsed with 



28 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

slaughter. Their own loss, however, had been severe. 
Six men were killed on the spot, and one wounded. 
Among the killed was Boone's eldest son, to the un 
speakable affliction of his family. The disorder and 
grief occasioned by this rough reception, seems to have 
affected the emigrants deeply, as they instantly re- 
traced their steps to settlements on Clinch river, forty 
miles from the scene of action. Here they remained 
until June, 1774, probably at the request of the women, 
who must have been greatly alarmed at the prospect 
of plunging more deeply into a country, upon the 
the skirts of which, they had witnessed so keen and 
bloody a conflict. 

At this time, Boone, at the request of Governor 
Dunmore, of Virginia, conducted a number of sur 
veyors to the falls of Ohio, a distance of eight hundred 
miles. After his return, he was engaged under Dun- 
more until 1775 in several affairs with the Indians, 
and at the solicitation of some gentlemen of North 
Carolina, he attended at a treaty with the Cherokees, 
for the purpose of purchasing the lands south of 
Kentucky. 

Boone's next visit to Kentucky was made under 
the auspices of Colonel Henderson. Leaving his fa- 
mily on Clinch river, he set out at the head of a few 
men, to mark out a road for the pack horses or wagons 
of Henderson's party. This laborious and dangerous 
du"ty he executed with his usual patient fortitude, until 
he came within fifteen miles of the spot where Boones- 



WIFE AND DAUGHTERS OF DANIEL BOONE. 29 

borough now stands. Here, on the 22nd of March, 
his small party was attacked by the Indians, and suf 
fered a loss of four men killed and wounded. The In- 
dians, although repulsed with loss in this affair, re- 
newed the attack with equal fury on the next day, 
and killed and wounded five more of the party. On 
the 1st of April, the survivors began to build a small 
fort on the Kentucky river, afterwards called Boones- 
borough, and on the 4th, they were again attacked by 
the Indians, and lost another man. Notwithstanding 
the harassing attacks to which they were constantly 
exposed, for the Indians seemed enraged to madness 
at the prospect of their building" houses on their hunt- 
ing-ground, the work was prosecuted with indefati- 
gable diligence, and on the 14th was completed. 

Boone now returned to Clinch river for his family, 
determined to bring them with him at every risk. This 
was done as soon as the journey could be performed, 
and Mrs. Boone and her daughters were the first 
white women who stood upon the banks of the Ken- 
tucky river, as Boone himself had been the first white 
man who ever built a cabin upon the borders of the 
state. The first house, however, which ever stood in 
the interior of Kentucky, was erected at Harrodsburgh, 
in the year 1774, by James Harrod, who conducted to 
this place a party of hunters from the banks of the 
Monongahela. This place was, therefore, a few months 
older than Boonesborough. Both soon became distin* 
guished, as the only places in which hunters and 



30 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

surveyors could find security from the fury of th 
Indians. 

Within a few weeks after the arrival of Mrs. Boone 
and her daughters, the infant colony was reinforced 
by three more families, at the head of which were Mrs. 
McGary, Mrs. Hogan, and Mrs. Denton. Boonesbo- 
rough, however, was the central object of Indian hos- 
tilities, and scarcely had his family become domesti- 
cated in their new possession, when they were suddenly 
attacked by a party of Indians, and lost one of their 
garrison. This was on the 24th of December, 1775. 

In the following July, however, a much more 
alarming incident occurred. One of the daughters, in 
company with a Miss Galloway, were amusing them- 
selves in a boat in the immediate neighborhood of the 
fort, when a party of Indians, suddenly rushed out of 
of a canebrake, and, intercepting their return, took 
them prisoners.* 

The shouts of the girls quickly alarmed the family. 
The small garrison was dispersed, being engaged in 
their usual occupations; but Boone hastily collected 
eight men and pursued the enemy. The Indians had the 
advantage of a start of several miles. The pursuit, 
however, was urged through the night by the anxious 
father, and on the following day, he had the satisfac- 
tion of coming up with the Indians. The girls were 
almost overcome with fatigue ; and they expected tc 
be tomahawked every moment; but they refrained 

*McClung's Western Adventure. 



WIFE AND DAUGHTERS OF DANIEL BOONE. 31 

from murmuring, and, by seeming to accompany their 
captors with a hearty will, were saved from the toma- 
hawk. Boone's attack was sudden and furious, so 
that the Indians were driven from their ground before 
they had an opportunity to kill their captives, who 
were recovered by the victorious party. The Indians 
lost two men, while Boone's party was entirely unin- 
jured. The happy father then returned to Boones- 
borough with the girls whom he had saved from a long 
and dreary captivity, if not from death. 

From this time until long after the bloody defeat 
of the whites at the Blue Licks, Boonesborough was 
constantly exposed to the harassing attacks of the 
Indians. The men of the garrison could not venture 
far from the fort, for savages were lurking around, 
watching opportunities to. pick off stragglers. Mrs. 
Boone, her daughters, and the other fema^s in the 
fort, were in a constant state of alarm ; and it was 
truly wonderful that they persuaded themselves to re- 
main amid such perils. They survived all the dangers 
they had so nobly braved, and lived to see Kentucky, 
the prosperous home of civilization, where their names 
will ever be remembered with gratitude and pride. 



- 



THE WAR-WOMAN CREEK, 

In Georgia and North Carolina there is hardly a 
river, creek, or stream, that has not connected whh 
it some old Indian tradition. The title of the present 
sketch is taken from one of these I believe one of 
the principal tributaries of Natahalee river, in the 
Cherokee nation, North Carolina. The story, as told 
by the few Indians remaining since the removal in the 
fall of 1838, runs thus : 

Many years ago, in the first settlement of the 
country, a wandering party of their tribe attacked the 
house of a squatter, somewhere upon their borders, 
during his absence, and massacred all his children, 
and left his wife covered with the mangled bodies of 
her butchered offspring ; scalped like them and ap- 
parently dead. She was not, however, wounded so 
badly as they had supposed, and no sooner did she 
hear the sound of their retreating footsteps, than dis- 
engaging herself from the heap of slain, haggard, pale, 
and drenched with her own and the blood of her chil- 
ren, she peered steadily from the door, and finding 
(32) 



THE WAR-WOMAN CREEK. 33 

her enemies no longer in sight, hastily extinguished 
the fire, which before leaving they had applied to her 
3abin, but which had, as yet, made very little impres- 
sion on the green logs of which it was composed. 

Wiping from her eyes the warm blood, still reeking 
from her scalpless head, she directed her agonized 
gaze to the bleeding and disfigured forms of those who 
scarce an hour before were playing at the door, and 
gladdening her maternal heart with their merry laugh- 
ter, and as she felt, in the full sense of her desolation, 
the last ray of hope die within her bosom, there stole 
over her ghostly face an expression as savage as was 
ever worn by the ruthless slayers of her innocent 
babes. Her eye gleamed with the wild fury of the 
tigress robbed of its young, as closing her cabin care- 
fully behind her, with a countenance animated by some 
desperate purpose, she started off in the same path by 
which the murderers had departed. Heedless of her 
wounds and wasting blood, and lost to all sense of 
hunger and fatigue in the one absorbing and fell pur- 
pose which actuated her, she paused not upon the trail 
of her foes, until at night, she came up with them en- 
camped at the side of the creek, which is indebted to 
her for its present name. 

Emerging from the gloom of the surrounding dark- 
ness, on her hands and knees she noiselessly crept to- 
wards the fire, the blaze of which, as it flickered up- 
wards, discovered to her the prostrate forms of the 
Indians, wno overcome by an unusually fatiguing 
3 " 



34 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

day's travel, were wrapt in deep sleep, with their only 
weapons, their tomahawks, in their belts. Her steal- 
thily advancing figure, as the uncertain light of the 
burning pine fell upon it with more or less distinctness 
now exposing its lineaments clotted with blood, and 
distorted by an expression, which her wrongs, and the 
desolaters of her hearthstone, exaggerated to a degree 
almost fiendish ; and now shading all, save two gleam- 
ing, spectral eyes was even more striking than the 
swarthy faces which she glared upon. 

Assuring herself that they were fast asleep she 
gently removed their tomahawks, and dropped all but 
one in the creek. With this remaining weapon in her 
hand, and cool resolution in her heart, she bent over 
the nearest enemy, and lifting the instrument, to which 
her own and her children's blood still adhered, with 
one terrific and unerring blow, buried it into the tem- 
ple of its owner. The savage moved no more than 
partly to turn upon his side, gasped a little, quivered a 
minute like an aspen, and sunk back to his former po- 
sition, quite dead. Smiling ghastly in his rigid face, 
the desperate woman left him, and noiselessly as before 
despatched all the sleepers, but one, to that long rest 
from which only the last trump can awaken them. 

The last devoted victim, however was roused to a 
consciousness of his situation by the death struggles, 
of his companions. He sprang to his feet and felt for 
his weapon. It was not there, and one glance explain- 
ing every thing to him, he evaded the blow aimed at 



THE WAR-WOMAN CREEK. 85 

him by the brave and revengeful mother, seized from 
the fire a burning brand, and with it, succeeded par- 
tially in warding off the furious attack which followed 
In a little time they fell struggling together, the In 
dian desperately wounded, and the unfortunate woman 
faint with the loss of blood and her extraordinary ex- 
ertions. Both were too weak to harm each other now, 
and the wounded savage only availed himself of his 
remaining strength to crawl away. In this piteous 
plight, the poor woman remained until near noon on 
the following day, when she was accidentally discovered 
by a straggling party of whites, to whom she told 
her story, and then died. After burying her on 
the spot, they made some exertions to overtake the 
fugitive Indian, but unsuccessfully. He succeeded in 
reaching his tribe, and from his tale the little stream, 
before mentioned, was ever afterwards known among 
the Cherokees, and also by the pale faces, as the 
" War- Woman Creek." 

The instance of intrepidity in a woman, recorded 
in the above sketch, furnishes a remarkable proof 
that the heroism of woman, to whatever excesses of 
daring and even ferocious courage it may lead her, 
has its foundation in love. It was this " War- Wo- 
man's" love for her children, that made her exhaust 
the last energy of a life, which had lost its motive and 
its charm, in taking vengeance on their murderers. 
Under such circumstances, it is difficult to imagine 
the extent to which a woman's outraged affections 



36 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

will not carry her. Here we see one of the gentle 
and devoted sex, losing all sense of danger, all feeling 
of compassion, all regard to her own personal safety, 
and her ultimate fate, in the desire to avenge the 
cruel murder of her children. The fact seems startling 
and almost incredible ; but it is corroborated by many 
other facts illustrating the same principle. 



ELIZABETH ZANE. 

DURING the hottest part of the revolutionary war, 
Fort Henry, situated near the site of the present city 
of Wheeling, was the stronghold of northwestern Vir- 
ginia. It was a simple stockade fort, and its garrison 
was exceedingly small. Yet it was twice defended 
against the furious assaults of large Indian armies, 
headed by bold and skilful white men. The incidents 
we are about to relate occurred during the second 
siege of Fort Henry. 

On the night of the 26th of November, 1782, Cap- 
tain Joseph Ogle, with a small scouting party, while 
on his return to the fort from an excursion up the 
Ohio, descried a faint but constant body of smoke 
rising in the air to the southward of Wheeling. Im- 
pressed with the conviction that the smoke was caused 
by the burning of the block-house at Grave Creek, 
about twelve miles below, he hastened to the fort and 
mentioned the circumstance to Colonel Shepherd, the 
commandant, who lost no time in dispatching twc 
men, in a canoe, down the river to ascertain the truth 

(37) 



38 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

In the course of the night all the inhabitants of the 
village fled to the fort for shelter and safety, and se- 

/ / 

veral families residing in the neighborhood were sent 
for and brought in before the dawn of day. 

The garrison numbered only forty-two fighting men. 
Some of these were far advanced in years, while others 
were mere boys. A portion of them were skilled in 
Indian warfare, and all were excellent marksmen. The 
store-house was well supplied with small-arms, particu- 
larly muskets, but was sadly deficient in ammunition. 

At the break of day on the 27th, the commandant 
wishing to dispatch expresses to the nearest settle- 
ments, sent a man, accompanied by a negro, out of 
the fort to bring in some horses, which had been 
turned loose the day before to graze on the bank of 
the creek. While these men were passing through 
the cornfield south of the fort, they encountered a 
party of six Indians, one of whom raised his firelock 
and brought the white man to the ground. The negro, 
seized with alarm, turned about and fled to the fort, 
which he succeeded in entering without being pursued 
or molested by the enemy. As soon as the negro re- 
lated his story, the colonel dispatched Captain Samuel 
Mason, with fourteen men, to dislodge the Indiana 
from the cornfield. Captain Mason with his party 
marched through the field, and arrived almost on the 
bank of the creek without finding the Indians, and 
had already commenced a retrograde movement when 
he was suddenly and furiously assailed in front, flank. 



ELIZABETH ZANE. 39 

and rear, by the whole of Girty's army. The captain 
rallied his men from the confusion produced by this 
unexpected demonstration of the enemy, and instantly 
comprehending the situation in which he was placed, 
gallantly took the lead and hewed a passage through 
the savage phalanx that opposed him. In this despe- 
rate conflict more than half the little band was slain, 
and their leader severely wounded. Intent on retreat- 
ing back to the fort, Mason pressed rapidly on with the 
remnant of his command, the Indians following closely 
in pursuit. One by one these devoted soldiers fell at 
the crack of the enemy's rifle. An Indian, who eagerly 
pursued Captain Mason, at length overtook him ; and 
to make sure of his prey, fired at him from the dis- 
tance of five paces ; but the shot, although it took 
effect, did not disable the captain, who immediately 
turned about, and hurling his gun at the head of his 
pursuer, felled him to the earth. The fearlessness 
with which this act was performed caused an involun- 
tary dispersion of the gang of Indians who led the 
pursuit: and Mason, whose extreme exhaustion f of 
physical powers prevented him from reaching the fort, 
was fortunate enough to hide himself in a pile of fallen 
timber, where he was compelled to remain to the end 
of the siege. Only two of his men survived the skir- 
mish, and they, like their leader, owed their safety to 
the heaps of logs and brush, that abounded in the 
cornfield. 

As soon as the critical situation of Captain Mason 



40 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

became known at the fort, Captain Ogle, with twelva 
rolunteers from the garrison, sallied forth to cover bin 
retreat. This noble, self-devoted band, in their eager- 
ness to press forward to the relief of their suffering 
fellow-soldiers, fell into an ambuscade, and two-thirds 
of their number were slain upon the spot. Sergeant 
Jacob Ogle, though mortally wounded, managed to 
escape with two soldiers into the woods, while Captain 
Ogle escaped in another direction, and found a place of 
concealment, which, like his brother, Captain Mason, 
he was obliged to keep as long as the siege continued. 
Immediately after the departure of Captain Ogle's 
command, three new volunteers left the garrison to 
overtake and reinforce him. These men, however, 
did not reach the cornfield until after the bloody 
scenes had been enacted, and barely found time to re- 
turn to the fort before the Indian host appeared before 
it. The enemy advanced in two ranks, in open order 
their left flank reaching to the river bank, and their 
right extending into the woods as far as the eye could 
reach. As the three volunteers were about to enter 
the gate, a few random shots were fired at them, and 
instantly a loud whoop arose on the enemy's left flank, 
which passed, as if by concert, along the line to the 
extreme right, until- the welkin was filled with a chorus 
of the most wild and startling character. This salute 
was responded to by a few well directed rifle shots 
from the lower block-houses, which produced a mani 
fest confusion in the ranks of the besiegers. They 



ELIZABETH ZANE. 41 

discontinued their shouting and retired a few paces, 
probably to await the coming up of their right flank, 
which, it would seem, had been directed to make a 
general sweep of the bottom, and then approach the 
stockade on the eastern side. 

At this moment the garrison of Fort Henry num- 
bered no more than twelve men and boys. The for- 
tunes of the day, so far, had been fearfully against 
them ; two of their best officers and more than two- 
thirds of their original force were missing. The exact 
fate of their comrades was unknown to them, but they 
had every reason to apprehend that they had been cut 
to pieces. Still they were not dismayed their mo- 
thers, sisters, wives and children were assembled around 
them they had a sacred charge to protect, and they 
resolved to fight to the last extremity, and confidently 
trusted in Heaven for the successful issue of the 
combat. 

When the enemy's right flank came up, Girty 
changed his order of attack. Parties of Indians were 
placed in such of the houses as commanded a view of 
the block-houses ; a strong body occupied the yard of 
Ebenezer Zane, about fifty yards from the fort, using 
a paling fence as a cover, while the greater part were 
posted under cover in the edge of the cornfield, to act 
offensively or serve as a corps of reserve, as occasion 
might require. These dispositions having been made, 
with a white flag in his hand, he appeared at the window 
of a cabin arid demanded the surrender of the garrison 



42 HEROIC WOMEN OF TIIE WEST. 

in the name of his Britannic majesty. He read thr 
proclamation of Governor Hamilton, and promised 
them protection if they would lay down their arms and 
swear allegiance to the British crown. He warned 
them to submit peaceably, and admitted his inability 
to restrain the passions of his warriors when they once 
became excited with the strife of battle. Colonel 
Shepherd promptly told him, in reply, that the garri- 
son would never surrender to him, and that he could 
only obtain possession of the fort when there remained 
no longer an American soldier to defend it. Girty 
renewed his proposition, but before he finished his 
harangue a thoughtless youth in one of the block-houses 
fired a gun at the speaker, and brought the conference 
to an abrupt termination. Girty disappeared, and in 
about fifteen minutes the Indians opened the siege' by 
a general discharge of rifles. 

It was yet quite early in the morning, the sun not 
having appeared above the summit of Wheeling hill, 
and the day is represented to have been one of sur- 
passing beauty. The Indians not entirely concealed 
from the view of the garrison, kept up a brisk fire for 
the space of six hours without much intermission. The 
little garrison, in spite of its heterogeneous character, 
was, with scarcely an exception, composed of sharp- 
shooters. Several of them, whose experience in In- 
dian warfare gave them a remarkable degree of coolness 
and self-possession in the face of danger, infused con- 
fidence into the young ; and, as they never fired at 



ELIZABETH ZANE. 43 

random, their bullets, in most cases, took effect. Tlio 
Indians, on the contrary, flushed with their previous 
success, their tomahawks reeking with the blood of 
Mason's and Ogle's men, and all of them burning with 
impatience to rush into the fort and complete their 
work of butchery, discharged their guns against the 
pickets, the gate, the logs of the block-houses, and 
every other object that seemed to shelter a white man. 
Their fire was thus thrown away. At length some of 
their most daring warriors rushed up close to the block- 
houses, and attempted to make more sure work by firing 
through the logs ; but these reckless savages received 
from the well-directed rifles of the frontiersmen the 
fearful rewaVd of their temerity. About one o'clock 
the Indians discontinued their fire and fell back against 
the "base of the hill. 

The stock of gunpowder in the fort having been 
nearly exhausted, it was determined to seize the favo- 
rable opportunity offered by the suspension of hostili- 
ties, to send for a keg of powder which was known to 
be in the house of Ebenezer Zane, about sixty yards 
from the gate of the fort. The person executing this 
service would necessarily expose himself to the danger 
of being shot down by the Indians, who were yet suf- 
ficiently near to observe every thing that transpired 
about the works. The colonel explained the matter 
to his men, and, unwilling to order one of them to 
undertake such a desperate enterprise, inquired 
whether any man would volunteer for the service 



44 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Three or four young men promptly stepped forward in 
obedience to the call. The colonel informed them that 
the weak state of the garrison would not justify the 
absence of more than one man, and that it was for 
themselves to decide who that person should be. The 
eagerness felt by each volunteer to undertake the 
honorable mission, prevented them from making the 
arrangement proposed by the commandant ; and so 
much time was consumed in the contention between 
them that fears began to arise that the Indians would 
renew the attack before the powder could be procured. 
At this moment of indescision, a woman came for- 
ward as a volunteer upon the perilous, but necessary 
service. Elizabeth Zane, the sister of Ebenezer and 
Silas Zane, a young woman of a calm, determined 
spirit of heroism, desired that she might be permitted 
to go for the ammunition. The proposition seemed 
so extravagant that it was met with a peremptory re- 
fusal. But Elizabeth pleaded earnestly, and all the 
remonstrances and representations of the colonel and 
and her relatives were of no avail. Her purpose was 
not to be shaken. The colonel said that either of the 
young men, on account of his superior fleetness and 
familiarity with scenes of danger, would be more likely 
than herself to do the work successfully. She replied 
that the danger attending the errand was the identical 
reason that induced her to offer her services, for as 
the garrison was very weak, no soldier's life should be 
placed in jeopardy needlessly, and if she fell her loss 



ELIZABETH ZANE. 45 

would not be felt. Heroic, but mistaken woman ! 
The world sustains its heaviest loss when such spirits 
fall. At length, the petition of Miss Zane was granted, 
her relatives preparing to see her sacrificed. The gate 
was opened for her to pass out. The opening of the 
gate attracted the attention of some straggling In- 
dians, and they stopped to gaze at the fearless girl, 
as she advanced towards the house of her brother. 
Savages as they were, they were spell-bound by such 
a display of daring by a woman. They permitted her 
to enter the house, where she filled her apron with 
powder. When she reappeared, the Indians, suspect- 
ing the character of her burden, and losing their ad- 
miration in the desire to cut off supplies from the gar- 
rison, they fired a volley at her as she swiftly glided 
towards the gate ; but the balls all flew wide of the 
mark, and the fearless girl entered the fort, amid the 
shouts of her friends and relatives. Such an effort of 
courage, and exhibition" of generous devotion was 
worthy of any heroine of history. Though Elizabeth 
Zane had no queen's title, she was one of the queens 
by divine right, to whom all may 'do homage. The 
highest effort of heroism is the offer of one's life to save 
others, and in this kind of nobility, Miss Zane was 
prominent. 

Ammunition being secured, the spirit of the garri- 
son revived ; and reinforcements arriving soon after, 
the assailants were completely baffled, and compelled 
to a retreat, which they performed with precipitation. 



46 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Fort Henry and the frontiers were saved. All honor 
to the gallant garrison. All honor to the wives and 
daughters there collected ; and, above all, a fadeless 
laurel to Elizabeth Zane. 



MRS. CUNNINGHAM. 

MRS. CUNNINGHAM deserves a share of the praise 
awarded to Mrs. Clendennin for firmness amid scenes 
of blood and death. The incidents of her capture, 
captivity, and release, possess a strong interest, and 
show the noble character of the heroine. 

The house of Edward Cunningham, an enterprising 
settler, was situated on Bingamon, a branch of West 
Fork. Thomas Cunningham, a brother of Edward, 
lived in a house almost adjoining. The two families 
thus afforded some protection to each other. In the 
latter part of June, 1785, a small party of Indians 
approached the houses of the settlers, with designs of 
plunder and massacre. At that time, Edward and 
his family were in one cabin, and the wife of Thomas, 
with four children, were in the other. Thomas Cun- 
ningham had gone east on a trading expedition. Botn 
families were eating their dinners, when a huge sa- 
vage entered the house of Thomas Cunningham, and 
stood before the astonished mother and her children, 
mth drawn knife, and uplifted tomahawk. Edward 

(47) 



48 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Cunningham had seen the entrance of the Indian 
through a hole in the wall of his house, and he now 
eagerly watched the movements of the savage. A 
similar hole being in the wall of Thomas Cunningham's 
house, the Indian fired through it and shouted for vic- 
tory. He then commenced cutting an opening in the 
back wall, with an adze, so that he- might pass out 
without being exposed to a shot from the other house. 
Edward shot another Jndian who appeared in the 
yard, just after the savage in the -house had fired 
his gun. 

In the meantime, Mrs. Cunningham made no at- 
tempt to get out, though he retained her presence of 
mind. She knew that an effort to escape would meet 
with certain death from those who were watching out- 
side of the house. 

She knew, too, it would be impossible to take the 
children with her. She expected that the Indian 
inside would withdraw without molesting any of them. 
A few minutes served to convince her of the hopeless 
folly of trusting to an Indian's mercy. "When the 
opening had been made sufficiently large, the savage 
raised his tomahawk, sunk it deep into the brains of 
one of the children, and throwing the scarcely lifeless 
body into the back yard, ordered the mother to follow 
him. There was no alternative but death, and she 
obeyed his order, stepping over the dead body of one 
of her children, with an infant in her arms, and two 
screaming by her side. When all were out he scalped 



MRS. CUNNINGHAM. 49 

the murdered boy, and setting fire to the house retired 
to an eminence, where two of the savages were with 
their wounded companion, leaving the other two to 
watch the opening of Edward Cunningham's door, 
when the burning of the house should force the family 
from their shelter. They were disappointed in their 
expectation of that event by the exertions of Cunning- 
ham and his son. When the flame from the one house 
communicated to the roof of the other, they ascended 
to the loft, threw off the loose boards which covered it, 
and extinguishing the fire ; the savages shooting at 
them all the while ; their balls frequently striking 
close by. 

Unable to force out the family of Edward Cunning- 
ham, and despairing of doing further injury, they beat 
a speedy retreat.* 

Before they started, however, they tomahawked 
and scalped the eldest son of Mrs. Cunningham before 
her eyes. Her little daughter was next murdered and 
scalped in the same way. The mother was horror- 
stricken, but, though in momentary expectation of 
meeting a similar fate, she remained self-possessed. 
Carrying her babe, she was led from the scene of blood- 
shed. The savages carried their wounded companions 
upon a litter. Crossing a ridge, they found a cave near 
Bingamon creek, in which they secreted themselves 
until after night, when some of the party returned tc 

* De Haas. 



r >0 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEFT. 

Edward Cunningham's, and finding that the inmates 
had fled, set fire to the house. 

The whole party now took up its march towards the 
Indian towns. During the journey, Mrs. Cunningham 
suffered mental and physical pangs not to be described. 
While weeping for her murdered children she was 
compelled to be constantly attentive to the helpless 
babe in her arms. For ten days her only nourishment 
was the head of a wild turkey and a few paw-paws. 

After the savages had withdrawn, Edward Cunning- 
ham went with his family into the woods, where they 
remained all night, there being no settlement nearer 
than ten miles. In the morning, the alarm was given, 
and a company of men soon collected to go in pursuit 
of the Indians. When the company arrived at Cun- 
ningham's and found both houses heaps of ashes, they 
buried the remains of the boy who was murdered in 
the house, with the bodies of his brother and little 
Bister, who were killed in the field ; but so cautiously 
had the savages conducted their retreat, that no traces 
of them could be found, and the disappointed whites 
returned to their homes. Subsequently, a second 
party started in pursuit, and succeeded in tracing the 
Indians to the cave ; but the trail could be followed 
no further, with certainty, and the pursuit was given 
up. Mrs. Cunningham afterwards stated, that at the 
time of the search on the first day, the Indians were 
in the cave, and that several times the whites ap- 
roached so near, that she could distinctly hear their 




MRS. CUNNINGHAM. 

voices. Savages stood with their guns ready to fire, 
in the event of being discovered, and forced the mother 
to keep her infant to her breast, to prevent its crying. 
Had the place of concealment been discovered, it is 
most probable that Mrs. Cunningham and her child 
"would have been tomahawked. 

Mrs. Cunningham spent many months in captivity, 
her husband being ignorant of her fate. At length, 
that man of bad repute Simon Girty, interfered 
on her behalf, paid her ransom, and sent her home. 
This noble act was an atonement for many deeds of 
darkness, and shows that the renegade was not so 
destitute of generosity as he is commonly represented 
to have been. Mrs. Cunningham's claims to the cha- 
racter of a heroine are undeniable. Few women could 
have passed through such hardships-and horrors, with 
guch self-control as she displayed. 



MRS. BLAND MRS. POLK. 

AFTER the famous battle of Blue Licks, the Indian 
army, victorious on that fatal field, determined to re- 
turn home with the scalps. A portion of them, how- 
ever, passing through Jefferson county, showed a hostile 
disposition, and were pursued by Colonel Flood, with 
a party of militiamen. After an unsuccessful pursuit, 
a portion of this force, at Kincheloe's station, sup- 
posing themselves secure, went to sleep at night, 
without a watch. In the night, the enemy fell upon 
the place by surprise ; and were in the houses before 
the people were awake. Thus circumstanced, they 
killed several persons, men, women, and children, and 
were proceeding to destroy or capture the rest, but 
the darkness of night favored the escape of a few. 

Among them was Mrs. Davis, whose husband wag 
killed and another woman, who fled to the woods 
where they were fortunately joined by a lad, by the 
name of Ash, who conducted them to Coxe's station. 

^Villiam Harrison, after placing his wife and a young 
woman, of the family, under the floor of the cabin, 
(52) 



MRS. BL4.XD AND .MRS. POLK. 53 

escaped ; as they did, after the Indians had retired ; 
and he returned to liberate them. Thompson Ran 
dolph stood his ground manfully for awhile, and de- 
fended his wife and children like a hero. He killed 
several Indians soon, however, his wife, and an in- 
fant in her arms, were both murdered by his side 
his remaining child, he put into the cabin loft, then 
mounted himself, and escaped with it through the 
roof. When he alighted on the ground, he was as- 
sailed by two of the savages, whom he had just forced 
out of the house one of these he stabbed, the other 
he struck with his empty gun they both left him, 
and he, dragging the child after him, secured his re- 
treat and the safety of both. This representation of 
facts, obtained full credit in the neighborhood, and 
with his acquaintances. A signal instance of manly 
perseverance. 

Several women and children were cruelly put to 
death, after they were made prisoners, and on the 
route to the towns. But the details of such savage 
barbarity are omitted, in order to attend the case of 
Mrs. Bland, who was not killed, probably because she 
was not a prisoner, after the second day when she 
escaped into the bushes totally unacquainted with 
the country around her, and destitute of any guide. 

For eighteen successive days she rambled through 
the woods, without seeing a human face ; subsisting 
upon sour grapes, and green walnuts ; until she be- 
came a mere walking skeleton, without clothes ; when 



54 HEROIC WOMEN OF TUB WEST. 

she was accidentally found, and taken to Lynn's sta- 
tion. Where kind attention and cautious nursing 
restored her to life and her friends. 

The situation of Mrs. Polk, another prisoner, with 
four small children, was almost as pitiable as that of 
Mrs. Bland. She was in a delicate state, and com- 
pelled to walk until she became nearly incapable of 
motion. She was then threatened with death, and 
the tomahawk brandished over her head by an Indian ; 
when another who saw it begged her life took her 
under his care mounted her on a horse, with her two 
children and conducted her safe to Detroit ; where 
those went who had prisoners or scalps to dispose of 
to purchasers. She was of course purchased, as she 
was there given up to British authority well treated 
and enabled to write to her husband, who was not at 
home when she was taken, though a resident of the 
station. Relying on the letter, which he received 
after some time, as a passport from the British, and 
incurring the risk of danger from the Indians, lie 
went for his wife, obtained her, and brought her and 
five children safe to Kentucky. After the peace cf 
next year, the other prisoners were also liberated, and 
caine home. 



MASSY HERBESON. 

THE captivity, sufferings, and escape of Mrs. Massy 
Herbeson and her family, occupy a conspicuous place 
in every history of Indian atrocity. We give her nar- 
rative as it was deposed before an alderman of Alle- 
ghany county, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Herbeson lived 
near Reed's block-house, about twenty-five miles from 
Pittsburg. 

Mr. Herbeson, being one of the spies, was from 
home ; two of the scouts had lodged with her that 
night, but had left her house about sunrise, in order 
to go to the block-house, and had left the door stand- 
ing wide open. Shortly after the two scouts went 
away, a number of Indians came into the house, and 
drew her, out of bed by the feet ; the two eldest child- 
ren, who also lay in another bed were drawn out in 
the same manner ; a younger child, about one year 
old, slept with Mrs. Herbeson. The Indians then 
scrambled about the articles in the house. Whilst 
they were at this work, Mrs. Herbeson went out of 
the house, and hallooed to the people in the block- 
house ; one of the Indians then ran up and stopped 
her mouth, another ran up with his tomahawk drawn. 

(65) 



56 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

and a third ran and seized the tomahawk and called 
her his squaw ; this last Indian claimed her as his, and 
continued by her. About fifteen of the Indians then ran 
down toward the block-house and fired their guns at 
the store and block-house, in consequence of which one 
soldier was killed and another wounded, one having 
been at the spring and the other in coming or looking 
out of the store-house. On Mrs. Herbeson, telling the 
Indians there were about forty men in the block-house, 
and each man had two guns, the Indians went to them 
that were firing at the block-house, and brought them 
back. They then began to drive Mrs. Herbeson and 
her children back ; but a boy, about three years old, 
being unwilling to leave the house, they took it by 
the heels, and dashed it against the house and then 
stabbed and scalped it. They then took Mrs. Herbe- 
son and the two other children to the top of the hill, 
where they stopped until they tied up the plunder 
they had got. While they were busy about this, Mrs. 
Herbeson counted them, and the number amounted to 
thirty-two, including two white men, that were with 
them, painted like the Indians. 

Several of the Indians could speak English, and 
she knew three or four of them very well, having often 
seen them go up and down the Alleghany river ; two 
of them she knew to be Senecas, and two Munsces, 
who had their guns mended by her husband two yearg 
ago. They sent two Indians with her, and the other* 
took their course towards Pluckty. The children and. 



MASSY HARBESON. 57 

the two Indians had not gone above two hundred yards, 
when the Indians caught two of her uncle's horscs ; 
put her and the youngest child upon one, and one of 
the Indians and the other child upon the other. The 
two Indians then took her and the children to the 
Alleghany river, and took them over in bark canoes, 
as they could not get the horses to swim the river. 
After they had crossed the river, the oldest child, a 
boy of about five years of age, began to mourn for 
his brother, when one of the Indians tomahawked and 
scalped him. They travelled all day very hard, and 
that night arrived at a large camp, covered with bark, 
which, by appearance, might hold "fifty men. That 
night they took her about three hundred yards from 
the camp, into a large dark bottom, bound her arms, 
gave her some bed clothes, and lay down on each side 
of her. The next morning they took her into a thicket 
on the hill side, and one remained with her till the 
middle of the day. While the other went to watch 
the path, lest some white people should follow them. 
They then exchanged places during the remainder of 
the day : she got a piece of dry venison, the size of an 
egg, that day, and a piece about the same size the day 
they were marching ; that evening, (Wednesday 23d) 
they moved her to a new place, and secured her as 
the night before. During the day of the 23d, she 
made several attempts to get the Indian's gun or 
tomahawk, that was guarding her, and, had she suc- 
ceeded, she would have put him to death. She was 



58 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

nearly detected in trying to get the tomahawk from 
his belt. 

The next morning (Thursday) one of the Indians 
went out, as on the day before, to watch the path. 
The other lay down and fell asleep. When she found 
he was sleeping, she stole her short gown, handker- 
chief, a child's frock, and then made her escape ; the 
sun was then about half an hour high when she took 
her course from the Alleghany, in order to deceive the 
Indians, as they would naturally pursue her that way ; 
that day she travelled along Concqucnessing Creek. 
The next day she altered her course, and, as she 
believes, fell upon the waters of Pine Creek, which 
empties into the Alleghany. Thinking this not her 
best course, went over some dividing ridges, lay on 
a dividing ridge on Friday night, and on Saturday came 
to Squaw run continued down the run until an In- 
dian or some other person, shot a deer ; she saw the 
person about one hundred and fifty yards from her. 

She then altered her course, but again came to the 
same run, and continued down it until she got so tired 
that she was obliged to lie down, it having rained upon 
her all day and the night before; she remained there 
that night ; it rained constantly. On Sunday she pro- 
ceeded down the run mjtil she came to the Alleghany 
river, and continued do$ti the river till she came op- 
posite Carter's hJuse, on the inhabited side, where she 
made a noise, ad James Closier brought her over the 
river to Carte 



MRS. WHITE. 

AFTER the defeat of General St. Glair's army, in 
November, 1791, the frontier on the west was more 
than ever exposed to the hostilities of the savage foe ; 
and many instances of terrible outrage, on individuals 
living in exposed situations, are recorded as having 
taken place at that gloomy period. In April, 1792, 
information was received, that the Cherokees, of five 
tuwns, would join the Shawanese, in a war against 
Kentucky. One incident of this war was productive 
of an act of heroism, which Mr. Butler records in his 
"History of Kentucky," as given below. It is only 
to be regretted that the historian has not given us 
more fully the details of the affair. His account is 
as follows : 

" Towards the end of the month, an incident of In- 
dian hostility occurred, which produced more than 
ordinary ^ interest. A Mrs. White, in the vicinity of 
Frankfort, defended her house against nine Indians ; 
killed one of them, and scared the others. The facts 
are these : a few families, forming a small station, 

(59) 



60 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

vere engaged in their usual occupations ; some of the 
men absent, some about the yard ; the women, two or 
three in number, were in Mrs. White's house ; when 
nine of the enemy surprise the place, kill three white 
men, as many negroes, and make the rest prisoners. 
The women shut and bar the door. It is immediately 
assailed by the savages, who attempt, but in vain, to 
force it. A part of them next try to fire the wall ; 
others mount to the roof, which is of boards, and 
which must soon have enabled the Indians, by re- 
moving them, to enter the house. In this situation, 
which might have appalled an ordinary hero, Mrs. White 
seized her husband's rifle, and fired it, with so good 
an aim, that one of the Indians was killed and the 
rest, seeing him fall, instantly fled. 

A few days after, one man was killed, and another 
taken prisoner. By this time the neighboring militia 
were collected, and pursuing the enemy, killed one of 
them and rescued the prisoners. About the same time, 
two men were killed near the upper Blue Licks. Such 
was the terrible scene exhibited by the war. Of 
which this seemed . but a repetition of others which 
had preceded. 



MRS. DUKEE. 

IN 1779, a settlement was founded at White Oak 
Spring, about a mile above Boonesborough, and in the 
same river bottom. It was composed principally of 
families from York county, Pennsylvania orderly, 
respectable people, and the men good soldiers. But 
they were unaccustomed to Indian warfare, and the 
consequence was, that of some ten or twelve men, all 
were killed but two or three. During this period, Peter 
Duree, the elder, the principal roan of the connexion, 
determined to settle a fort between Estill's station and 
the mouth of Muddy Creek, directly on the trace be- 
tween the Cherokee and Shawanese towns. Having 
erected a cabin, his son-in-law, John Bullock and his 
family, and his son, Peter Duree, his wife and two 
children, removed to it, taking a pair of hand mill 
stones with them. They remained for two or three 
days shut up in their cabin, but their corn meal being 
exhausted, they were compelled to venture out to cut 
a hollow tree in order- to adjust their hand mill. They 
were attacked by Indians Bullock, after running a 
6 (61) 



62 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

short distance, fell. Duree reached the cabin, and 
threw himself upon the bed. Mrs. Bullock ran to the 
door to ascertain the fate of her husband received a 
shot in the breast, and fell across the door sill. Mrs. 
Duree, not knowing whether her husband had been 
shot or had fainted, caught her by the feet, pulled her 
into the house and barred the door. She grasped a 
rifle, and told her husband she would help him to fight. 
He replied that he had been wounded and was dying. 
She then presented the gun through several port-holos 
in quick succession then calmly closed his eyes in 
death. After waiting several hours, and seeing no- 
thing more of the Indians, she sallied out to make her 
way to the White Oak Spring, with her infant in her 
arms, and a son three or four years old following. 
Afraid to pursue the trace, she entered the woods, 
and after running till she was nearly exhausted, she 
came at length to the trace. She then determined to 
to follow it at all hazards, and having advanced a few 
miles further, she met the elder Mr. Duree with his 
wife and youngest son, with their baggage, on their 
way to the new station. The melancholy tidings in- 
duced them of course to return. They led their horses 
info an adjoining canebrake, unloaded them, and 
regained the White Oak Spring fort before daylight. 
It is impossible at this day to make a just impres- 
sion of the^ sufferings of the pioneers about the period 
spoken of. The White Oak Spring fort, in 1782, 
with perhaps one hundred souls in it, was reduced in 



MRS. DUREE. 63 

August, to three fighting white men and I can say 
with truth, (says Captain Nathaniel Hart, of Wood- 
ford county, in a letter to Governor Morehead, of 
Kentucky,) that for two or three weeks, my mother's 
family never unclothed themselves to sleep, nor were 
all of them, within the time, at their meals together, 
nor was any household- business attempted. Food was 
prepared, and placed where those who chose could eat. 
It was the period when Bryant's station was besieged, 
and for many- days before and after that gloomy event, 
we were in constant expectation of being made pri- 
soners. We made application to Colonel Logan for a 
guard, and obtained one, but not until the danger was 
nearly over. Colonel Logan did every thing in his 
power, as county lieutenant, to sustain the' different 
forts but it was not a very easy matter to order a 
married man from a fort where his family was, to 
defend -some other when his own was in imminent 
danger. 

I went with my mother in January, 1783, to Logan's 
station to prove my father's will. He had fallen in the 
preceding July. Twenty armed men were of the party. 
Twenty-three widows were in attendance upon the 
court, to obtain letters of administration on the estates 
of their husbands who had been killed during the past 
year. My mother went to Colonel Logan's, who re 
ceived and treated her like a sister. 

The escape of Mrs. Duree may seem the result of 
her good fortune ; but it is more probable that, by her 



64 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

stratagem of presenting the gun through several port 
noles in quick succession, as above mentioned, she 
frightened the foe away, and thus gained a fair field 
to escape with her children. A heroine was Mrs. 
Duree. 



MRS. KOWAN. 

IN the following narrative, communicated by. John 
Rowan, of Kentucky, to Dr. Drake, of Cincinnati, we 
have an account of a display of cool courage by a 
woman, in a degree rarely witnessed, even in the west. 

In the latter part of April, 1784, my father with 
his family, and five other families, set out from Louis- 
ville, in two flat-bottomed boats, for the Long Falls of 
Green river. -The intention was to descend the Ohio 
river to the mouth of Green river, and ascend that 
river to the place of destination. At that time there 
were no settlements in Kentucky, within one hundred 
miles of Long Falls of the Green river (afterwards called 
Vienna.) The families were in one boat and their 
cattle in the other. When we had descended the river 
Ohio, about one hundred miles, ard were near the 
middle of it, gliding along very securely, as we thought, 
about ten o'clock at night, we heard a prodigious 
yelling, by Indians, some two or three miles below us, 
on the northern shore. We had floated but a little 
5 6* V 65) 



56 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

distance farther down the river, when we saw a num- 
ber of fires on that shore. The yelling still continued, 
and we concluded that they had captured a boat which 
had passed us about midday, and were massacreing 
their captives. Our two boats were lashed together, 
and the best practical arrangements were made for de- 
fending them. The men were distributed by my fa- 
ther to the best advantage in case of an attack ; they 
were seven in number, including himself. The boats 
were neared to the Kentucky shore, with as little 
noise from the oars as possible. We were afraid to 
approach too near the Kentucky shore, lest there 
might be Indians on that shore also. We had not 
yet reached their uppermost fire, (their fires were ex- 
tended along the bank at intervals for half a mile or 
more,) and we entertained a faint hope that we might 
slip by unperceived. But they discovered us when 
we had got about midway of their fires, and com- 
manded us to come to. We were silent, for my father 
had given strict orders that no one should utter any 
sound but that of the rifle : and not that until the In- 
dians should come within powder burning distance. 
They united in a most terrific yell, and rushed to their 
canoes, and pursued us. We floated on in silence 
not an oar was pulled. They approached us within 
a hundred yards, with a seeming determination to 
board us. Just at this moment my mother rose from 
her seat, collected the axes, and placed one by the 
side of each man, where he stood with his gun, touching 



. MRS. ROWAN. 67 

him on the knee with the handle of the axe, as she 
leaned it up by him against the side of the boat, 
to let him know it was there, and retired to her 
seat, retaining a hatchet for herself. The Indians 
continued hovering on our rear, and jelling, for near 
three miles, when, awed by the inference which they 
drew from our silence, they relinquished farther pur- 
suit. None but those who have had a practical ac- 
quaintance with Indian warfare, can form a just idea 
of the terror which this hideous yelling is calculated 
to inspire. I was then about ten years old, and shall 
never forget the sensations of that night ; nor can I 
ever cease to admire the fortitude and composure dis- 
played by my mother on that trying occasion. We 
were saved, I have no doubt, by the judicious system 
of conduct and defence, which my father had pre- 
scribed to our little band. We were seven men and 
three boys but nine guns in all. They were more 
than a hundred. My mother, in speaking of it after- 
wards, in her calm way, said, " We had made a provi- 
dential escape, for which we ought to feel grateful." 

That mother of the west should have a monument. 
It would remind her descendants who are accustomed 
to hearing females designated as the "weaker vessels," 
that upon trying Occasions, the strength of soul, which 
is beyond that of sinew and muscle, has appeared in 
woman, and may appear again. 



MISS HECKEWELDER. 

THE following letter addressed to the editor of tlie 
" American Pioneer," was written by the daughter of 
the well-known missionary to the Indians, the Rev. 
John Heckewelder. Miss Heckewelder was the first 
white child born in Ohio. Her narrative of the toils 
and sufferings among the Indians is highly interesting. 

Bethlehem, Pa., February 24^, 1843. 
J. S. WILLIAMS, ESQ. 

Dear Sir Yours of the 31st ult., to Mr. Kummen, 
post-master at this place, has been handed to me. I 
have not been in the habit of making much use of my 
pen for a number of years ; I will, however, at your 
request, endeavor to give you a short account of the 
first four years of my life, which were all I spent 
amongst the Indians, having since lived in Bethlehem 
nearly all the time. My acquaintance or knowledge 
of them and their history, is chiefly from books, and 
what I heard from my father and other missionaries. 

I was born April 16th, 1781, in Salem, one of the 
Moravian Indian towns, on the Muskhrguin river, state 
(08) 



MISS HECKEWELDER. 69 

of Ohio. Soon after my birth, times becoming very 
troublesome, the settlements were often in danger fiom 
war parties, and from an encampment of warriors near 
Gnadenhutten ; and finally, in the beginning of Sep- 
tember of the same year, we were all made .prisoners. 
First, four of the missionaries were seized by a 
party of Huron warriors, and declared prisoners of 
war ; they were then led into the camp of the Dela- 
wares, where the death-song was sung over them. Soon 
after they had secured them, a number of warriors 
marched off for Salem and Shoenbrun. About thirty 
savages arrived at the former place in the dusk of the 
evening, and broke open the mission house. Here they 
took my mother and myself prisoners, and having led 
her into the street and placed guards over her, they 
plundered the house of every thing they could take 
with them and destroyed what was left. Then going 
to take my mother along with them, the savages were 
prevailed upon through the intercession of the Indian 
females, to let her remain at Salem till the next morn- 
ing the night being dark and rainy and almost im- 
possible for her to travel so far they at last con- 
sented on condition that she should be brought into 
the camp the next morning, which was accordingly 
done, and she was safely conducted by our Indians to 
Gnadenhutten. 

After experiencing the cruel treatment of the 
savages for sometime, they were set at liberty again ; 
but we were obliged to leave their nourishing settle- 



70 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ments, and forced to march through a dreary wilder- 
ness to Upper Sandusky. We went by land through 
Goshachguenk to the Walholding, and then partly by 
water and partly along the banks of the river, to San- 
dusky creek. All the way I was carried by an Indian 
woman, carefully wrapped in a blanket, on her back. 
Our journey was exceedingly tedious and dangerous ; 
some of the canoes sunk, and those that were in them 
lost all their provisions and every thing they had 
saved. Those who went by land drove the cattle, a 
pretty large herd. The savages now drove us along, 
the missionaries with their families usually in the 
midst, surrounded by their Indian converts. The 
roads were exceedingly bad, leading through a con- 
tinuation of swamps. Having arrived at Upper San- 
dusky, they built small huts of logs and bark to screen 
them from the cold, having neither beds or blankets, 
and being reduced to the greatest poverty and want ; 
for the savages had by degrees stolen almost every 
thing, both from the missionaries and Indians, on the 
journey. We lived here extremely poor, oftentfmcs 
very little or nothing to satisfy the cravings of hunger ; 
and the poorest of the Indians were obliged to live 
upon their dead cattle, which died for want of pasture. 
After living in this dreary wilderness, in danger, 
poverty, and distress of all sorts, a written order 
arrived in March, 1782, sent by the governor to the 
half king of the Hurons and to an English officer in 
his company, to bring all the missionaries and theii 



MISS HECKEWELDER. 71 

families to Detroit, but with a strict order not to 
plunder nor abuse them in the least. The missionaries 
were overwhelmed with grief at the idea of being 
separated from their Indians ; but there being no alter- 
native, they were obliged to submit to this, one of the 
heaviest of their trials. The poor Indians came weep- 
ing to bid them farewell, and accompanied them a 
considerable way, some as far as Lower Sandusky. 
Here we were obliged to spend several nights in the 
open air, and suffered great cold besides other hard- 
ships. April 14th, we set out and crossed over a part 
of the lakes Erie and JIuron. We were lodged in the 
barracks by order of the governor. Some weeks after, 
we left the barracks with his consent and moved into 
a house at a small distance from the town. 

The Indian converts, gathering around their 
teachers, they resolved with the consent of their 
governor, to begin the building of a new settlement 
upon a spot about thirty miles from Detroit, on the river 
Huron, which they called New Gnadenhutten, and 
which increased considerably from time to time. Here 
I lived till the year 1785, when I set out with an aged 
missionary couple to be educated in the school at Beth- 
lehem. We commenced our journey about the middle 
May, and arrived at the latter place July 9th, after a 
very tedious and perilous journey proceeding down 
the river Huron into Lake St. Glair, thence to Detroit, 
and crossing Lake Erie to Niagara and Oswego, thence 
down Oswego river to Lake Oneida, thence down the 



*2 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Waldbah to Fort Stanwix. Wo then arrived at a 
carrying place at the Mohawk river, and proceeded to 
Schenectady ; went by land to Albany, and then by 
water to New Windsor, and then again by land to 
Bethlehem. 

I fear my account has become rather too long and 
tedious. I am much obliged to you, sir, for the Pioneer, 
it is a most interesting work, and I wish I could but 
gain some patronage for you ; but money is so scarce, 
there is at present no prospect. 



MRS. TACKETT, THE CAPTIVE. 

THE following thrilling narrative is copied from 
the Hesperian. 

The sufferings endured by the first emigrants to a 
new country, scarcely admit of description. These 
have always been greatly multiplied by an encroach- 
ment upon the rights and possessions of the abori- 
gines. In reference to this country, where we have 
long been considered unwelcome intruders, this has 
been peculiarly the case. The settlement of no part 
of the world has been more fruitful of incident than 
that of our own. Although many pens have been 
employed from time to time, in detailing our wars with 
the Indians, still many interesting occurrences have 
escaped the historian's notice. Some of these have 
appeared in the form of newspaper paragraphs, while 
others of equal importance have escaped this ephemeral 
kind of repository. 

The writer of this article has several times travelled 
the road which lies on the banks of the Kenhawa. 
7 (73) 



74 HEROIC WOMEN OF TIIE WE; T. 

Although he found mountains whose tops pierced tho 
clouds, and a hcautiful river whose margins smoked 
with salt furnaces, to amuse him by day, his enter- 
tainment was not diminished by the approach of dark- 
ness, lie has usually sought lodgings with some of 
of the more ancient inhabitants, many of whom ac- 
commodate their guests with great hospitality. Like 
the early adventurers to new settlements, they are 
social, and delight in the recital of their dangerous 
enterprises and hair-breadth escapes. Mr. M., at whose 
comfortable mansion it was the writer's good fortune 
to tarry one night, the last time he passed through 
Western Virginia, gave him the following narrative. 

Just below the mouth of Cole river, on the farm 
owned by the heirs of Tays, to insure their safety the 
early settlers constructed a fortress. It was formed 
exclusively of timber, without much labor, yet in 
a manner as to be deemed adequate to their defence 
against Indian aggression. On the apprehension of 
danger, the gate was closed, and every one prepared 
for resistance. When the demand for food became 
imperious, a few of the most skilful hunters would 
leave this retreat before day, go a few miles distant, 
return the succeeding night, loaded with game, un- 
noticed by the skulking savage. These measures of 
safety were at first considered indispensable. A few 
weeks of repose, however, seemed to render them in- 
convenient and unnecessary. Exemption from a morn- 
ing attack was thought a sufficient pledge of peace 



MRS. TACKETT, THE CAPTIVE. 75 

through the day. Familiarity with danger, as it always 
does, relaxed their vigilance and diminished their pre- 
caution. Even the women and children, who at first 
had been frightened by the falling of a tree, or the 
hooting of an owl, lost their timidity. Indeed, the 
strife seemed to be, who should be boldest, and the 
least apprehensive of peril. 

On a beautiful morning, in the month of June, 1778, 
as well as is recollected, the gate was thrown open. 
Confinement had become painful, nay, insupportable. 
It was considered rather as a voluntary punishment, 
than a condition of security. Three of the fearless 
inhabitants set out on a hunting expedition. Some- 
sought amusement in shooting at a mark ; the younger j 
engaged in playing at ball, while the women and 
children were delighted spectators of the recreation. 
Scarcely had an hour elapsed in these cheerful relaxa- 
tions, before some twenty or thirty Indians suddenly 
ascended the river bank which had concealed their 
approach, fired upon the whites, and instantly took 
possession of the fort. Amidst the consternation 
which ensued, the savages put to death every white 
man on whom they could lay hands, reserving the 
women and children for more trying occasions. 

The wounded, who were unable to travel, without 
regard to age or sex, were butchered in the most 
shocking manner, of which description was James 
Tackett. The importunities and tears of his interest- 
ing wife were wholly unavailing. She was left with 



76 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

two fine boys, the one seven years old, and the other 
five. Apprehensive of pursuit by the whites, the In- 
dians, after the destruction of every article they couKl 
not remove, betook themselves to flight. "When a 
prisoner became too feeble, as was the case with seve- 
ral small children, all entreaties to avert the stroke 
of the tomahawk were fruitless. Although Mrs. 
Tackett afforded to her children all the aid which their 
situation and maternal tenderness could dictate, at 
the distance of about five miles i.he youngest became 
exhausted. Her extreme anxiety for his safety in- 
duced her to take him on her back; but alas! this 
act of kindness was but the signal for his dispatch. 

Two hours afterwards her other child began to fail. 
He grasped his mother's hand, and said, " I must 
keep up with you or be killed as poor James was." 
The exertions which she made for her child were 
beyond what she could sustain. For a time she in- 
spired him with the hope of relief which the approach- 
ing night would bring. Nature, however, became 
overpowered, and a single blow sunk him to rest. The 
distracted parent would cheerfully have submitted to 
the same fate, but even this barbarous relief was denied 
her. About dark she lagged behind, regardless of 
consequences, in charge of a warrior who could speak a 
little English. He informed her that in the course of 
an hour they would reach a large encampment, where 
the prisoners must be divided ; that sometimes quarrels 
ensued on such occasions, and the captives were put 



MRS. TACKETT, THE CAPTIVE. 77 



to death. He asked her if she could write. An affirma- 
tive answer seemed to please him much. He said lie 
would take her to his country in the south, to be his 
wife and to keep his accounts, as he was a trader. 
This Indian was a Cherokee, and named Chickahoula ; 
aged about thirty five, and of good appearance. 

He soon took the first step necessary for carrying 
his designs into execution, by making a diversion to 
the left. After travelling about two miles, the dark- 
ness of the night and abruptness of the country for- 
bade their advancing father. A small fire was made 
to defend them against the gnats and musqiutoes. Af- 
ter eating a little jerk, Chickahoula told his captive 
to sleep ; that he would watch lest they should be 
ovei'taken by pursuers. Early in the morning he 
directed his course towards the head of the Great 
Sandy and Kentucky rivers. Until he crossed Guy- 
andotte, Chickahoula was constantly on the lookout, 
as if he deemed himself exposed to the most imminent 
danger. After having travelled seven days, the war- 
rior and the captive reached Powell's valley, in Ten- 
nessee. By this time they were out of provisions ; 
and the Indian thinking it safer, while passing through 
a settled district, to steal food than to depend upon 
his gun, determined to avail himself of the first oppor- 
tunity of supplying his wants in this manner. It was 
but a little while till one presented itself. Following 
the meanderings of a small rivulet, he came suddenly 
upon a spring-house, or dairy. This was several rods 
7* 



78 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

from tlie dwelling-house of the owner, and so situated 
that it could be approached unseen from thence. Well 
satisfied that it contained a rich store of milk, and 
thinking it probable that other provision was there, 
the warrior stationed his captive to watch, while he 
went in to rifle the spring-house. Mrs. Tackett 
readily and willingly undertook the duty of acting as 
sentinel; but no sooner was the Indian fairly within 
the spi'ing-house, than she stole up the slope, and 
then bounded towards the dwelling. This reached, 
she instantly gave the alarm ; but the Indian escaped. 
Mrs. Tackett tarried for some time with her new 
acquaintances, and spent several months in the diffe- 
rent settlements of that section of the west. An 
opportunity then offering, she returned to Greenbriar. 
Her feelings on rejoining her friends and listening to 
the accounts of the massacre at the station, and those 
of her relatives on again beholding one whom they con- 
sidered, if not dead, in hopeless captivity, may be 
imagined; pen cannot describe them. 



MRS. MERRIL. 

IN the summer of 1787, the house of John Merril, 
in Nelson county, Kentucky, was attacked by Indians. 
The defence was spirited and successful, Mrs. Merril 
acted with the most determined heroism. 

Merril was alarmed hy the barking of a dog about 
midnight, and in opening the door in order to ascertain 
the cause of the disturbance, he received the fire of 
six or seven Indians, by which his arm and thigh were 
both broken. He sank upon the floor and called upon 
his wife to shut the door. This had scarcely been done 
when it was violently assailed by the tomahawks of 
the enemy, and a large breach soon effected. Mrs. 
Merril, however, being a perfect Amazon, both in 
strength and courage, guarded it with an axe, and suc- 
cessively killed or badly wounded four of the enemy as 
they attempted to force their way into the cabin. The 
Indians then ascended the roof and attempted to enter 
by way of the chimney, but here, again, they were met 
by the same determined enemy. Mrs. Merril seized 
the only feather-bed which the cabin afforded, and 

(79) 



80 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

hastily ripping it open, poured its contents upon the 
fire. A furious blaze and stifling smoke ascended the 
chimney, and quickly brought down two of the enemy, 
who lay for a few moments at the mercy of the lady. 
Seizing the axe, she despatched them, and was instantly 
afterwards summoned to the door, where the only re- 
maining savage now appeared, endeavoring to effect 
an entrance, while Mrs. Merril was engaged at the 
chimney. He soon received a gash in the cheek, which 
compelled him with a loud yell to relinquish his pur- 
pose, and return hastily to Chillicothe, where, from 
the report of a prisoner, he gave an exaggerated ac- 
count of the fierceness, strength, and courage of the 
" long knife squaw !" 



THE ESCAPE OF MES. COLEMAN. 

THE scenery of the Ohio, between Columbia and 
Cincinnati, was truly romantic in the pioneer days of 
1792. Scarcely a tree had been cut on either side, 
between the mouth of Crawfish and that of Deer creek, 
a distance of more than four miles. The sand-bar, 
now extending from its left bank, opposite to Sports- 
man's Hall, was then a small island, between which 
and the Kentucky shore was a narrow channel, with 
sufficient depth of water for the passage of boats. The 
upper and lower points of this island were bare, but 
its centre, embracing about four acres, was covered 
with small cotton wood, and surrounded by willows 
extending along its sides almost down to the water's 
edge. The right bank of the river crowned with its 
lofty hills, now gradually ascending, and now rising 
abruptly to their summits, and forming a vast amphi- 
theatre, was from Columbia, extending down about 
two miles, very steep, and covered with trees quite 
down to the beach. From thence, nearly opposite the 
foot of the island, its ascent became more gradual, 
6 (81) 



82 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

and for two miles farther flown, bordering the tall 
trees with which it was covered, was a thick growth 
of willows, through which in many places it was diffi- 
cult to penetrate. Below this, the beach was wide 
and stony, with only here and there a small tuft of 
willows, while the wood on the side and on the top of 
the bank was more open. Not far from this bank and 
near the line of the present turnpike, was a narrow 
road leading from Columbia to Cincinnati, just wide 
enough for the passage of a wagon, which, winding 
round the point of the hill above Deer creek, descended 
northwardly about four hundred feet, and crossing 
that creek, and in a southerly direction ascending 
gradually its western bank, led along the ground, now 
Symmes street, directly towards Fort Washington, 
and diverging at the intersection of Lawrence street 
to the right and left of the fort, entered the town. The 
river between Columbia and Cincinnati is thus minutely 
described to enable the reader to gain a clear idea of 
the following adventure. 

On the afternoon of the 7th of July, 1702, a Mr. 
Oliver M. Spencer and a few friends, embarked in a 
canoe, at Fort Washington, to go to Columbia. It 
was a small craft, and hardly fit to accommodate the 
Darty, which thus consisted of a Mr. Jacob Light, a 
Mr. Clayton, Mrs. Coleman, young Spencer, a boy 
of thirteen, and one of the garrison soldiers, which 
last individual being much intoxicated, lurched from 
one side of the canoe to the other, and finally by the 



THE ESCAPE OF MRS. COLEMAN. 83 

they had got up a short distance above Deer 
creek, tumbled out, nearly upsetting the whole party. 
He then reached the shore, the water not being very 
deep at the spot. Spencer did not know how to swim, 
and had become afraid to continue in the canoe, and 
was therefore at his own request put on shore, where 
they left the soldier, and the party in the boat and 
Spencer on shore, proceeded side by side% Light pro- 
pelled the boat forward with a pole, while Clayton sat 
at the stern with a paddle, which he sometimes used 
as an oar, and sometimes as a rudder, and Mrs. Cole- 
man, a woman of fifty years, sat in the middle of the 
boat. One mile above Deer creek, a party of market 
people, with a woman and child, on board a canoe, 
passed them on their way to Cincinnati. Light and 
the others had rounded a small point in the cove less 
than a mile below the foot of the island, and proceeded 
a few hundred yards along the clos-e willows here bor- 
dering the beach, at about two rods distance from the 
Water, when Clayton looking back, discovered the 
drunken man staggering along the shore, and re- 
:marked that he would be " bait for Indians." Hardly 
nad he passed the remark, when two rifle-shots from 
the rear of the willow struck Light and his comrade, 
causing the latter to fall towards the shore, and wound- 
ing the other by the ball glancing from the oar. The 
two Indians who had fired instantly rushed from their 
concealment, to scalp the dead, and impede the escape 
of the living. Clayton was scalped, and Spencer, in 



84 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

spite of all his efforts to get off, was made prisoner, 
but Light swam out of reach of his pursuers, and Mrs. 
Coleman, who had also jumped out, preferring to ha 
drowned to falling into the hands of the Indians, ana 
floated some distance off. The Indians would probably 
have reloaded and fired, but the report of their rifles 
brought persons to the opposite shore, which forced 
them to decamp with their young prisoner, saying, 
" squaw must drown." Light first made for the Ken- 
tucky shore, but finding he could not reach it in his 
crippled state, directed his way out on the Ohio side. 
Mrs. Coleman followed, using her hands as paddles, 
and they both got to shore some distance below the 
scene of these events. Light had barely got out when 
he fell, but after vomiting blood at length came to. 

Mrs. Coleman floated nearly a mile, and when she 
reached the shore, walked down the path to Cincin- 
nati, crossed Deer creek at its mouth, holding on to 
the willows which overhung its banks the water there 
in those days flowing in a narrow current that might 
almost be cleared by a spring from one bank to the 
other. She went direct to Captain Thorp, at the ar- 
tificer's yard, with whose lady she was acquainted, 
and from whom she obtained a change of clothes, and 
rested a day or two to recover from her fatigue. Mrs. 
Coleman died a few years since, at a very advanced 
age, at Versailles, Ripley county, Indiana. 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 

IN February, 1790, a Mr. John May, surveyor of 
the Kentucky lands, determined to proceed from Vir- 
ginia to his field of labor by/descending the Great 
Kenawha and the Ohio. He was accompanied by a 
young clerk,, named Charles Johnson ; Mr. Jacob 
Skyles, who had a lot of dry goods intended for Lex- 
ington ; a hardy borderer named Flinn ; and two 
sisters, naijied Fleming, who had been accustomed to 
the dangers of a frontier life. 

During their short stay at Point Pleasant, they 
learned that roving bands of Indians were constantly 
hovering upon either bank of the Ohio, and were in 
the habit of decoying boats ashore under various pre- 
tences, and murdering or taking captives, all who were 
on board, so that, upon leaving Point Pleasant, they 
determined that no considerations should induce them 
to approach either sh6re, but steeling their hearts 
against every entreaty, that they would resolutely keep 
the middle of the current, and leave distressed indivi- 
duals to shift for themselves. How firmly this reso- 
8 (85) 



86 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

lulion was maintained the sequel will show. The spring 
freshet was in its height at the time of their embarka- 
tion, and their boat was wafted rapidly down the stream. 
There was no occasion to use the side oars, and it was 
only necessary for one individual at a time to watch 
throughout the night, at the steering oar, in order to 
keep the boat in the current. So long as this could 
be done, they entertained no dread of any number of 
Indians on either shore, as boarding had hitherto 
formed no part of their plans, and was supposed to be 
impracticable, so long as arms were on board of the 
boat. 

On the morning of the 20th of March, when near 
the junction of the Scioto, they were awakened at day- 
light by Flinn, whose turn it was to watch, and in- 
formed that danger was at hand. All sprung to their 
feet, and hastened upon deck without removing their 
night caps or completing their dress. The cause of 
Flinn's alarm was quickly evident. Far down the 
river a smoke was seen, ascending in thick wreaths 
above the trees, and floating in thinner masses over 
the bed of the river. All at once perceived that it 
could only proceed from a large fire and who was 
there to kindle a fire in the wilderness which surrounded 
them ? No one doubted that Indians were in front, 
and the only question to be decided was, upon which 
shore they lay, for the winding of the river, and their 
distance from the srnoke, rendered it impossible at first 
to ascertain this point. As the boat drifted on, how 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 87 

ever, it became evident that the fire was upon the Ohic 
shore, and it was determined to put over to the oppo- 
site side of the river. Before this could be done, how- 
ever, two white men ran down upon the beach, and 
clasping their hands in the most earnest manner, im- 
plored the crew to take them on board. They declared 
that they had been taken by a party of Indians in 
Kennedy's bottom a few days before had been con- 
ducted across the Ohio, and had just effected their es- 
cape. They added, that the enemy was in close pur- 
suit of them, and that their death was certain, unless 
admitted on board. Resolute in their purpose, on no 
account to leave the middle of the stream, and strongly 
suspecting the suppliants of treachery, the party paid 
no attention to their entreaties, but steadily pursued 
their course down the river, and were soon considerably 
ahead of them. The two white men ran down the bank 
in a line parallel with the course of the boat, and their 
entreaties were changed into the most piercing cries 
and lamentations upon perceiving the obstinacy with 
which their request was disregarded. The obduracy 
of the crew soon began to relax. Flinn and the two 
females, accustomed from their youth to undervalue 
danger from the Indians, earnestly insisted upon going 
ashore, and relieving the white men, and even the in- 
credulity of May began to yield to the persevering 
importunity of the suppliants. 

A parley took place. May called them from the 
deck of the boat where he stood in his night-cup and 



88 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

drawers, and demanded the cause of the large finj 
and smoke of which had caused so much alarm. The 
n-hite men positively denied that there was any fire 
near them. The falsehood was so palpable, that May's 
former suspicion returned with additional force, and 
he positively insisted upon continuing their course 
without paying the slightest attention to the request 
of the men. This resolution was firmly seconded by 
Johnston and Skyles, and as vehemently opposed by 
Flinn and Miss Flemings, for, the females were allowed 
an equal vote with the males on board of the boat. 
Flinn urged that the men gave every evidence of real 
distress which could be required, and recounted too 
many particular circumstances attending their capture 
and escape, to give color to the suspicion that their 
story was invented for the occasion, and added, that 
it would be a burning shame to them and theirs for- 
ever, if they should permit two countrymen to fall a 
secrifice to the savages when so slight a risk on their 
part would suffice to relieve them. He acknowledged 
that they had lied in relation to the fire, but declared 
himself satisfied that it was only because they were fear- 
ful of acknowledging the truth, least the crew should 
suspect that Indians were concealed in the vicinity. 
The controversy became warm, and during its progress, 
the boat drifted so far below the men, that they 
appeared to relinquish their pursuit in despair. 

Flinn then made a second proposal, which, according 
to his method of reasoning, could be ca'rried into effect 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 8S 

without the slightest risk to any one but himself. They 
were now more than a mile below the pursuers. He 
proposed th^t May should only touch the hostile shore 
long enough to permit him to jump out. That it was 
impossible for Indians, (even admitting that they were 
at hand,) to arrive in time to arrest the boat,' and even 
should any appear, they could immediately put off from 
shore and abandon him to his fate. That he was con- 
fident of being able to outrun the red devils, if they 
saw him first, and was equally confident of being able 
to see them as soon as they could see him. May re- 
monstrated upon so unnecessary an exposure but 
Flinn was inflexible, and in an evil hour, the boat was 
directed to the shore. They quickly discovered, what 
ought to have been known before, that they could not 
float as swiftly after leaving the current as while borne 
along by it, and they were nearly double the time in 
making the shore, that they had calculated upon. When 
within reach Flinn leaped fearlessly upon the hostile 
bank, and the boat grated upon the sand. At that 
moment, five or six savages, ran up out of breath, from 
the adjoining wood, and seizing Flinn, began to fire 
upon the boat's crew. Johnston and Skyles sprang to 
their arms, in order to return the fire, while May, 
seizing an oar attempted to regain the current. Fresh 
Indians arrived, however, in such rapid succession, that 
the beach was quickly crowded by them, and May called 
out to his companions to cease firing and come to the 
oars. This was done, but it was too late. 
8* 



90 HEROIC TTOMEN 07 THE 

Tlic river, as we have already observer!, was very 
high, and their clumsy and unwieldy boat, had be- 
come entangled in the boughs of the trees which hung 
over the water, so that after the most desperate efforts 
to get her off, they were compelled to relinquish the 
attempt in despair. During the whole of this time 
the Indians were pouring a heavy fire into the boat, at 
a distance not exceeding ten paces. Their horses, of 
which they had a great number on board, had broken 
their halters, and mad with terror were plunging so 
furiously as to expose them to danger scarcely less 
dreadful than that which menaced them from shore. 
In addition to this, none of them had, ever beheld a 
hostile Indian before, (with the exception of May,) and 
the furious gestures and appalling yells of the enemy, 
struck a terror in their hearts which had almost de- 
prived them of their faculties. Seeing it impossible 
to extricate themselves, they all lay down upon their 
faces, in such parts of the boat, as would best protect 
them from the horses, and awaited in passive helpless- 
ness, the approach of the conquerors. The enemy, 
however, still declined boarding, and contented them- 
selves with pouring in an incessant fire, by which all 
the horses were killed, and which at length began to 
grow fatal to the crew. One of the females received 
a ball in her mouth, which had passed immediately 
over Johnston's head, and almost immediately expired. 
Skyles, immediately afterwards, was severely wounded 
in both shoulders, the ball striking the right shoulder 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 91 



blade, and ranging transversely along his back. The 
fire seemed to grow hotter every moment, when, at 
length May arose waved his night-cap above his head 
as a signal of surrender. He instantly received a ball 
in the middle of the forehead and fell perfectly dead 
by the side of Johnston, covering him with blood. 

Now, at last, the enemy ventured to board. Throwing 
themselves into the water, with their tomahawks in 
their hands, a dozen or twenty swam to the boat, and 
began to climb the sides. Johnston stood ready to do 
the honors of the boat, and presenting his hand to each 
Indian in succession, he helped them over the side to 
the number of twenty. Nothing could appear more 
Cordial than the meeting. Each Indian shook him by 
the hand, with the usual salutation of " How de do?" 
in passable English, whilst Johnston encountered every 
visitor with an affectionate squeeze, and a forced smile, 
in which terror struggled with civility. The Indians 
then passed on to Skyles and the surviving Miss Flem- 
ing, where the demonstrations of mutual joy were not 
quite so lively. Skyles was writhing under a painful 
wound, and the girl was sitting by the dead body of 
her sister. Having shaken hands with all their cap- 
tives, the Indians proceeded to scalp the dead, which 
was done with great coolness, and the reeking scalps 
were stretched and prepared for the usual process of 
drying, immediately before the eyes of the survivors. 
The boat was then drawn ashore, and its contents ex- 
amined with great greediness. Poor, Skyles, in addi- 



92 HEROIC WOMEX OF THE WEST. 

tion to the pain ofhis wounds, was compelled to witness 
the total destruction of his property, by the hands of 
these greedy spoilers, who tossed his silks, cambric, 
and broadcloth into the dirt, with the most reckless 
indifference. At length they stumbled upon a keg of 
whiskey. The prize was eagerly seized, and every 
thing else abandoned. The Indian who had found it, 
carried it ashore and was followed by the rest with 
tumultuous delight. A large fire nearly fifty feet long 
was kindled, and victors and vanquished indiscrimi- 
nately huddled around it. 

The two white men who had decoyed them ashore, 
and whose names were Divine and Thomas, now ap- 
peared and took their seats beside the captives. Sen* 
sible of the reproach to which they had exposed them- 
selves, they hastened to offer an excuse for their con- 
duct. They declared that they really had been taken 
in Kennedy's bottom a few days before, and that the 
Indians had compelled them, by threats of instant 
death in case of refusal, to act as they had done. 
They concluded by some common place expressions of 
regret for the calamity which they had occasioned, 
and declared that their own misery was aggravated 
at beholding that of their countrymen ! In short, 
words were cheap with them, and they showered them 
out in profusion. But Johnston and Skyles's sufferings 
had been and still were too severe, to permit their re- 
sentment to be appeased by such light atonement. 
Their suspicions of the existence of wilful and malig 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 93 

nant treachery on the part of the white men, at least 
one of them, were confirmed by the report of a negro, 
who quickly made his appearance, and who, as it ap- 
peared, had been taken in Kentucky a few days be- 
fore. He declared that Thomas had been extremely 
averse to having any share in the treachery, but had 
been overruled by Divine, who alone had planned, and 
was most active in the execution of the project, hav- 
ing received a promise from the Indians, that, in case 
of success, his own liberty should be restored to him. 

In a few minutes, six squaws, most of them very 
old, together with two white children, a girl and a 
boy, came down to the fire, and seated themselves. 
4Tie children had lately been taken from Kentucky. 
Skyles's wound now became excessively painful, and 
Flinn, who, in the course of his adventurous life, had 
picked up some knowledge of surgery, was permitted 
to examine it. He soon found it necessary to make 
an incision, which was done very neatly with a razor. 
An old squaw then washed the wound, and having 
caught the bloody water in a tin cup, presented it to 
Skyles, and requested him to drink it, assuring him 
that it would greatly hasten the cure. He thought it 
most prudent to comply. 

During the whole of this time, the Indians remained 
silently smoking or lounging around the fire. No sen- 
tinels were posted in order to prevent a surprise, but 
each man's gun stood immediately behind him, with 
the breech resting upon the ground, and the barrel 



94 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

supported against a small polo, placed horizontally 
upon two forks. Upon the slightest alarm, every mail 
could have laid his hand upon his own gun. Their 
captors were composed of small detachments from 
several tribes. Much the greater portion belonged to 
the Shawanese, but there were several Delawares, 
Wyandottes, and a few wandering Cherokees. 

After smoking, they proceeded to the division of 
of their prisoners. Flinn was given to a Shawanose 
warrior Skyles to an old, crabbed, ferocious Indian 
of the same tribe, whose temper was sufficiently ex- 
pressed in his countenance, while Johnston was assigned 
to a young Shawanese chief, whom he represents as 
possessed of a disposition which would have done hint 
honor in any age or in any nation. The surviving 
Miss Fleming was given to the Cherokees, while the 
Wyandottes and the Delawares were allowed no share 
in the distribution. 

The next day, the Indians attacked the boats, and 
obtained a large amount of booty. Another keg of 
whiskey was found. A grand drinking frolic was then 
held, during which the prisoners were bound, to guard 
against their escape. After this drunken revel, the 
march commenced. The party having Flinn in charge, 
left the rest of the band, and took a different route. 
Leaving the male prisoners to their fate, we will merely 
narrate what befell Miss Fleming. 

Johnston had been much surprised at the levity of 
her conduct, when first taken. Instead of appearing 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 95 

dejected at the dreadful death of her sister, and the 
still more terrible fate cf her friends, she never ap- 
peared more lively or better reconciled to her fate than 
while her captors lingered upon the banks of the Ohio, 
Upon the breaking up of the party, the Cherokees 
conducted their prisoner towards the Miami villages, 
and Johnston saw nothing more of her until after his 
own liberation. While he remained at the house of 
Mr. Duchouquet, the small party of Cherokees to whom 
she belonged suddenly made their appearance in the 
village in a condition so tattered and dilapidated, as to 
satisfy every one that all their booty had been wasted 
with their usual improvidence. Miss Fleming's appear- 
ance, particularly, had been entirely changed. All the 
levity which had astonished Johnston so much on the 
banks of the Ohio, was completely gone. Her dress 
was tattered, her cheeks sunken, her eyes discolored 
by weeping, and her whole manner expressive of the 
most heartfelt wretchedness. Johnston addressed her 
with kindness, and inquired the cause of so great a 
change, but she only replied by wringing her hands 
and bursting into tears. Her master quickly summoned 
her away, and on the morning of her arrival she was 
compelled to leave the village, and accompany the'm to 
Lower Sandusky. Within a few days, Johnston, in 
company with his friend Duchouquet, followed them to 
that place, partly upon business, and partly with the 
hope of effecting hoi- liberation. He found the town 
thronged with Indians of various tribes, and there, for 



96 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the first time, he learned that his friend Skyles had 
effected his escape. Upon inquiring for the Cherokees 
he learned that they were encamped with their prisoner 
within a quarter of a mile of the town, holding them- 
selves aloof from the rest, and evincing the most jealous 
watchfulness over their prisoner. Johnston applied 
to the traders of Sandusky for their good offices, and, 
as usual, the request was promptly complied with. 
They went out in a body to the Cherokee camp, ac- 
companied by a white man named Whittaker, who had 
been taken from Virginia when a child, and had be- 
come completely naturalized among the Indians. This 
Whittaker was personally known to Miss Fleming, 
having often visited Pittsburg where her father kept a 
small tavern, much frequented by Indians and traders. 
As soon as she beheld him, therefore, she ran up to 
the spot where he stood, and bursting into tears, im- 
plored him to save her from the cruel fate which she 
had no doubt awaited her. He engaged very zealously 
in her service, and finding that all the offers of the 
traders were rejected with determined obstinacy, he 
returned to Detroit, and solicited the intercession of 
an old chief known among the whites by the name of 
" Old King Crane," assuring him (a lie which we can 
scarcely blame) that the woman was his sister. King 
Crane listened with gravity to the appeal of Whittaker, 
acknowledged the propriety of interfering in the case 
of so near a relative, and very calmly walked out to 
the Cherokee camp, in order to try the efficacy of his 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 97 

own eloquence in behalf of the white squaw. He found 
her master, however, perfectly inexorable. The argu- 
ment gradually waxed warm, till at length the Chero- 
kees became enraged, and told the old man that it was 
a disgrace to a chief like him, to put himself upon a 
level with "white people," and that they looked upon 
him as no better than " dirt." 

At this insupportable insult, King Crane became 
exasperated in turn, and a very edifying scene ensued, 
in which each bespattered the other with a profusion 
of abuse for several minutes, until the Old King recol- 
lected himself sufficently, to draw off for the present, 
and concert measures for obtaining redress. He re- 
turned to the village in a towering passion, and an- 
nounced his determination to collect his young men and 
rescue the white squaw by force, and if the Cherokees 
dared to resist, he swore that he would take their 
scalps upon the spot. Whittaker applauded his doughty 
resolution, but warned him of the neceesity of dis- 
patch, as the Cherokees, alarmed at the idea of losing 
their prisoner, might be tempted to put her to death 
without further delay. This advice was acknowledged 
to be of weight, and before daylight on the following 
morning, King Crane assembled his young men, and 
advanced cautiously upon the Cherokee encampment. 
He found all but the miserable prisoner buried in sleep. 
She had been- striped naked, her body painted black, 
and in this condition, had been bound to a stake, around 
which hickory poles had already been collected, and 
7 



08 HEIIOIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

every other disposition made for burning her alivt at 
day-light. She was moaning in a low tone as her de- 
liverers approached, and was so much exhausted as 
not to be aware of their approach, until King Crane 
had actually cut the cords which bound her, with his 
knife. 

He then ordered his young men to assist her in putting 
on her clothes, which they obeyed with the most 
stoical indifference. As soon as her toilet had been 
completed, the King awakened her masters, and in- 
formed them that the squaw was his ! that if they sub- 
mitted quietly it was well ! if not, his young men and 
himself were ready for them. The Cherokees, as may 
readily be imagined, protested loudly against such 
unrighteous proceedings, but what could words avail 
against tomahawks and superior numbers? They 
then expressed their willingness to resign the squaw 
but hoped that King Crane would not be such a " beast" 
as to refuse them the ransom which he had offered 
them on the preceding day ! The king replied coolly, 
that the squaw was now in his own hands alfd would 
serve them right if he refused to pay a single broach 
but he disdained to receive any thing at their hands, 
without paying an equivalent ! and would give them 
six hundred broaches. He then returned to Lower 
Sandusky, accompanied by the liberated prisoner. 
She was then painted as a squaw by "\Vhittaker, and' 
sent off, under the care of two trusty Indians to Pitts- 



THE SISTERS FLEMING. 99 

burg, where she arrived in safety in the course of the 
following week. 

Miss Fleming was much exhausted by her sufferings 
in the trying scenes through which she had passed ; 
but she lived at Pitts-burg many years afterwards. 



MRS. ^ItiLER AND DAUGHTER 

TUB folio ?viag narrative, told by an old pioneer, 
called Tim Watkins, to a correspondent of the " Cin- 
cinnati Miscellany," contains some noble instances of 
female djtermination, and is worthy of a place by the 
side of the best of thoss stories we have related. On 
the IllinoL river, near two hundred miles from its 
junction with the Mississippi, there lived an old pio- 
neer, known in those days as " Old Parker, the squat- 
ter." His family consisted of a wife and three child- 
ren, the oldest a boy of nineteen, a girl of seventeen, 
and the youngest a boy of fourteen. At the time of 
which we write, Pttrker and his oldest boy had gone 
in company with tin ee t Indians on a hunt, expecting 
to be absent some live or six days. The third day 
after their departure, one of the Indians returned to 
Parker's house, came in and sat himself down by the 
fire, lit his pipe, and commenced smoking in silence. 
Mrs. Parker thought nothing of this, as it was no un- 
common thing for one or sometimes more of a party 
of Indians to return abruptly from a hunt, at some 
(100) 



MRS. PARKER AND DAUGHTER. 

sign they might consider ominous of bad luck, and in 
such instances were not very communicative. But at 
last the Indian broke silence with " ugh ! old Parker 
die." This exclamation immediately drew Mrs. Par- 
ker's attention, who directly inquired of the Indian, 
"What's the matter with Parker?" 

The Indian responded, " Parker sick, tree fell on 
him, you go he die." 

Mrs. Parker then asked the Indian if Parker sent 
for her, and where he was. 

The replies of the Indian somewhat aroused her 
suspicions. She however came to the conclusion to 
send her son with the Indian to see what was the matter. 
The boy and Indian started. That night passed, and 
the next day too, and neither the boy nor Indian re- 
turned. This confirmed Mrs. Parker in her opinion 
that there was foul play on the part of the Indians. 
So she and her daughter went to work and barricaded 
the doors and windows in the best way they could. 
The youngest boy's rifle was the only one left, he not 
having taken it with him when he went out after his 
father. The old lady took the rifle, the daughter the 
axe, and thus armed they determined to watch through 
the night, and defend themselves if any Indians 
should appear. 

They had not long to wait after night fall, for soon 
after that some one commenced knocking at the door, 
crying out, "Mother, mother!" but Mrs. Parker 
thought the voice was not exactly like that of her son, 



102 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

and in order to ascertain the fact, she said, " Jake, 
where are the Indians ?" The reply, which was " urn 
gone," satisfied her on that point. She then said, as 
if speaking to her son, " Put your ear to the latch- 
hole of the door." The head was placed at the latch- 
hole, and the old .lady fired her rifle throught it and 
killed the Indian. She stepped back from the door 
instantly, and it was well she did so, for quicker than 
I have penned the last two words, two rifle-bullets 
came crashing through the door. 

The old lady then said to her daughter, " Thank 
God, there is but two, I must have killed the one at 
the door they must be the three who went on the 
hunt with your father. If we can only kill or cripple 
another one of them, we will be safe ; now we must 
both be still after they fire again, and they will then 
break the door down, and I may be able to shoot 
another one ; but if I miss them when getting in you 
must use the axe." 

The daughter, equally courageous with her mother, 
assured her she would. Soon after this conversation 
two more rifle bullets came crashing through the win- 
dow. A death-like stillness ensued for about five mi- 
nutes, when two more balls in quick succession were 
fired through the door, then followed a tremendous 
punching with a log, the door gave way, and with a 
nendish yell, an Indian was about to spring in when 
the unerring rifle fired by the gallant old lady laid 
his lifeless bodv across the threshold of the door. The 



MRS. PARKER AND DAUGHTER. 103 

remaining, or more properly the surviving, Indian 
fired at random and ran doing no injury. "Now" 
said the old heroine to her undaunted daughter " we 
must leave." Accordingly with the rille and the axe, 
they went to the river, took the canoe, and without a 
mouthful of provision, except one wild duck and two 
black birds which the mother shot, and which were eaten 
raw, did these two courageous hearts in six days arrive 
among the old French settlers at St. Louis, A party 
of about a dozen men crossed over Illinois and after 
an unsuccessful search returned without finding either 
Parker or his boys. They were never found. There 
are yet some of the old settlers in the neighborhood 
of Peoria who still point out the spot where " old 
Parker, the squatter" lived. 



EXPERIENCE BOZARTH. 

THE courage and prowess of a woman in defence of 
herself and family were never more gloriously dis- 
played than by Mrs. Experience Bozarth. This lady 
lived upon Dunkard's creek, in Westmoreland county, 
Pennsylvania. About the middle of March, 1779, 
when the neighboring country was infested with war- 
like Indians, two or three families gathered at Mrs. 
Bozarth's house for safety. Soon afterwards, some 
of the children came running in from play, appearing 
very much frightened, and exclaiming that ugly red 
men were near the house. There irere but two men 
in the house. One of them stepped to the door, where 
he received a ball in the side of his breast, which 
caused him to fall back upon the floor. The Indian 
who had shot him immediately jumped over the lody 
and engaged in a struggle with the other white wan. 
The savage was overpowered, and his 
(104) 



EXPERIENCE BOZARTH. 105 

tossing him on the bed, called for a knife to dispatch 
him. Mrs. Bozarth had retained her presence of 
mind, and was now prepared for the most desperate 
defence. Not being able to find a knife, she seized 
an axe, and with one blow clove in the Indian's skull. 
At that instant a second Indian entered the door, and 
shot the white man dead, who was holding the Indian 
on the bed. Mrs. Bozarth, with unflinching boldness, 
turned to this new foe, and gave him several cuts with 
the axe, one of which made his entrails appear. He 
called out murder, whereupon, other Indians who had 
been killing some children out of doors, came rushing 
to his relief. The head of one of these was cut in 
twain by the axe of Mrs. Bozarth. Another Indian 
snatched him by the feet and pulled him out of doors, 
when Mrs. Bozarth, with the assistance of the man 
who was first shot in the door, and who had by this 
time recovered some degree of self-command, shut the 
door and fastened it. 

The Indians, rendered furious by the desperate re- 
sistance they had met, now besieged the house, and 
for several days, they employed all their arts to enter 
and slay the weak garrison. But all their efforts were 
futile. Mrs. Bozarth and her wounded companion, 
employed themselves so vigorously and vigilantly, 
that the enemy were completely baffled. During the 
siege, the dead Indian and the dead white man re- 
mained in the house. 

At length, a party of white men arrived, put the 



106 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Indians to flight, and relieved Mrs. Bozavth from her 
perilous situation. Many were the encomiums lavished 
upon the heroic woman, who had made such a noldo 
defence of her home ; and, indeed, it may be ques- 
tioned whether any female ever displayed more courage 
and prowess in combat against superior numbers. 



A HEROINE WITHOUT A NAME. 

VAST is the catalogue of names, fame gives to the 
world as great and good heroes and heroines. But, 
we believe, the unrecorded great are still more nu- 
merous. Sometimes there is a want of a timely his- 
torian. Often, modest merit seeks concealment, and 
so is forgotten, amid the trumpetings of noisy fools. 
Again, as in the present instance, " a deed without 
a name," is handed down to us, as an example, with 
no claimant for admiration. 

In 1786, an incident happened upon Green river, 
Kentucky, which not only illustrates the dangers which 
beset the pioneers of that period, but also the nobility 
of woman. About twenty young persons, male and 
female, of a fort, had united in a flAx pulling, in one 
of the most distant fields. In the course of the fore- 
noon two of their mothers made them a visit, and the 
younger took along her child, about eighteen months 
old. When the whole party were near the woods, one 
of the young women climbed over the fence, was fired 
upon by several Indians concealed in the bushes, who 

(107) 



108 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

at the same time raised the usual war-whoop. She 
was wounded, but retreated, as did the whole party; 
some running with her down the lane, which happened 
to open near that point, and others across the field. 
They were hotly pursued by the enemy, who con- 
tinued to yell and fire upon them. 

The older of the two mothers who had gone out, 
recollecting in her flight, that the younger, a small and 
feeble woman was burdened with her child, turned 
back in the face of the enemy, they firing and yelling 
hideously, took the child from its almost exhausted 
mother, and ran with it to the fort, a distance of three 
hundred yards. During the chase she was twice shot 
at with rifles, when the enemy were so near that the 
powder burned her, and one arrow passed through her 
sleeve, but she escaped uninjured. The young woman 
who was wounded, almost reached the place of safety 
when she sunk, and her pursuer, who had the hardi- 
hood to attempt to scalp her, was killed by a bullet from 
the fort. 



MES. EUHAMA BUILDERBACK. 

THE fortitude to suffer is as noble as the courage to 
dare. Perhaps, patient endurance is rarer than bold 
adventure. Mrs. Ruhama Builderback, the heroine 
of the following sketch, possessed that steady firm- 
ness under suffering, which is the chief distinction of 
the martyr. 

She was born and raised in Jefferson county, Vir- 
ginia, In 1785, she married a Mr. Charles Builder- 
back, and with him crossed the mountains and settled 
at the mouth of Short creek, on the east bank of the 
Ohio, a few miles above Wheeling. Her husband a 
brave man, had on many occasions distinguished him- 
self in repelling the Indians, who had often felt the sure 
aim of his unerring rifle. They therefore determined 
at all hazards to kill him. 

On a beautiful summer morning in June, 1789, at a 
time when it was thought the enemy had abandoned 
the western shores of the Ohio, Captain Charles Buil- 
derback, his wife and brother, Jacob Builderback, 
crossed the Ohio to look after some cattle. On reaching 

(109) 



110 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE -WEST. 

the shore, a party of fifteen or twenty Indians rushed 
out from an ambush, and firing upon them, wounded 
Jacob in the shoulder. Charles was taken while he was 
running to escape. Jacob returned to the canoe and 
got away. In the mean time, Mrs. Builderback secreted 
herself in some drift-wood, near the bank of the river. 
As soon as the Indians had secured and tied her hus- 
band, and not being able to discover her hiding-place, 
they compelled him, with threats of immediate death, 
to call her to him. With a hope of appeasing their 
fury, he did so. She heard him, but made no answer. 
" Here," to use her own words, " a struggle took place 
in my breast, which I cannot describe. Shall I go to 
him and become a prisoner, or shall I ~emain, return 
to our cabin and provide for and take care of our two 
children." He shouted to her a second time to come 
to him, saying, " that if she obeyed, perhaps it would 
be the means of saving his life." She no longer hesi- 
tated, left her place of safety, and surrendered her- 
self to her savage captors. All this took place in full 
view of their cabin, on the opposite shore, and where 
they had left their two children, one a son about three 
years old, and an infant daughter. The Indians know- 
ing that they would be pursued as soon as the news 
of their visit reached the stockade, at Wheeling, com- 
menced their retreat. Mrs. Builderback and her 
husband travelled together that day and the following 
night. The next morning, the Indians separated into 
two parties, one taking Builderback, and the other his 



MRS. RUHAMA BUILDERBACK. Ill 

wife, and continued a westward course by different 
routes. 

In a few days, the band having Mrs. Builderback 
in custody, reached the Tuscarawas river, where they 
encamped, and where soon rejoined by the band that 
had had her husband in charge. Here the murderers 
exhibited his scajp on the top of a pole, and to con- 
vince her that they had killed him, pulled it down and 
threw it into her lap. She recognised it at once by 
the redness of his hair. She said nothing, and uttered 
no complaint. It was evening ; her ears pained with 
the terrific yells of the savages, and wearied by con- 
stant travelling, she reclined against a tree and fell 
into a profound sleep, and forgot all her sufferings 
until morning. When she awoke, the scalp of her 
murdered husband was gone, and she never learned 
what became of it. Her husband commanded a com- 
pany at Crawford's defeat. He was a large, noble 
looking man, and a bold and intrepid warrior. He 
was in the bloody Moravian campaign, and took his 
share in the tragedy, by shedding the first blood on 
that occasion, when he shot, tomahawked, and scalped 
Shebosh, a Moravian chief. But retributive justice 
was meted to him. After being taken prisoner, the 
Indians inquired his name. " Charles Builderback," 
replied he, after some little pause. After this reve- 
lation, the Indians stared at each other with a malig- 
nant triumph. "Ha!" said they, "you kill many 
Indians you big captain you kill Moravians.''' 



112 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

from that moment, probably, Captain Buildevback'a 
death was decreed. 

As soon as the capture of Builderback was known, 
at Wheeling, a party of scouts set off in pursuit, and 
taking the trail of one of the bands, followed it until 
they found the body of Builderback. He had been 
tomahawked and scalped, and apparently suffered a 
lingering death. 

The Indians, on reaching their towns on the Big 
Miami, adopted Mrs. Builderback into a family, with 
Whom she resided until released from captivity. She 
remained a prisoner about nine months, performing 
the labor and drudgery of squaws, such as carrying 
in meat from the hunting-grounds, preparing and dry- 
ing it, making moccasins, leggings and other clothing 
for the family in which she was raised. After her 
adoption, she suffered much from the rough and filthy 
manner of Indian living. 

In a few months after her capture, some friendly 
Indians informed the commandant at Fort Washington, 
that there was a white woman in captivity at the 
Miami towns. She was ransomed and brought in to the 
fort, and in a few weeks was sent up the river to her 
lonely cabin, and to the embrace of her two orphan 
children. She then recrossed the mountains, and 
settled in her native county. 

In 1791, Mrs. Builderback married Mr. John Green, 
and in 1798, they emigrated to the Hockhocking 
valley, and settled about three miles west of Lancaster 



MKS. RUHAMA BUILDERBACK. 113 

where she continued to reside until the time of her 
death, about the year 1842. 

She lived to witness the settlement of the vast wil- 
derness, where her husband had fought and she had 
suffered ; and until her death had maintained a high 
character among the mothers of the west. 



THE WIDOW SCBAGGS. 

IN the following account of an attack upon the 
house of an old widow, we have two instances of fe- 
male heroism, which are worthy of preservation. The 
presence of mind displayed by the old lady was admi- 
rable, and but for the destruction of the house, might 
have saved the family, while the desperate, defence 
made by one of her daughters, with a *n<*re knife, 
showed an uncommon device of resolution. 

The house of widow Scraggs, in Bourbon county, 
Kentucky, was attacked on the night of the llth of 
April, 1787. She occupied what is generaLv called a 
double cabin, in a lonely part of the county, one room 
of which was tenanted by the old lady herself, together 
with two grown sons, and a widowed daughter, at that 
time suckling an infant, while the other was occupied 
by two unmarried daughters from sixteen to twenty 
years of age, together with a little girl not more than 
half grown. The hour was eleven o'clock at night. 
One of the unmarried daughters was still busily 
engaged at the loom, but the other members of the 
(114) 



THE WIDOW SCRAGGS. 115 

family, with the exception of one of the sons, had 
retired to rest. Some symptoms of an alarming nature 
had engaged the attention of the young man for an 
hour before any thing of a decided character took 
place. 

The cry of owls was heard in the adjoining wood, 
answering each other in rather an unusual manner. 
The horses, which were inclosed as usual in a pound 
near the house, were more than commonly excited, 
and by repeated snorting and galloping, announced 
the presence of terror. The young man was often upon 
the point of awaking his brother, but was often re- 
strained by the fear of the reproach of timidity, at 
that time an unpardonable blemish in the character of 
a Kerituckian. At length hasty steps were heard in 
the yard, and quickly afterwards, several loud knocks 
at the door, accompanied by the usual exclamation, 
" who keeps house ?" in very good English.* The 
young man, supposing from the language, that some 
benighted settlers were at the door, hastly arose, and 
was advancing to withdraw the bar which secured it, 
when his mother who had long lived upon the frontiers, 
and had probably detected the Indian tone in the de- 
mand for admission, instantly sprung out of bed, and 
ordered her son not to admit them, declaring that they 
were Indians. 

She instantly awakened her other son, and the two 
young men seizing their guns, which were always 
charged to repel the enemy. The Indians finding it 



116 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

impossible to enter under their assumed characters, 
began to thunder at the door with great violence, but 
a single shot from a loop hole, compelled them to shift 
the attack to some less exposed point ; and, unfor- 
tunately, they discovered the door of the other cabin, 
which contained the three daughters. The rifles of 
the brothers could not be brought to bear upon this 
point, and by means of several rails taken from the 
yard fence, the door was forced from its hinges, and 
the three girls were at the mercy of the savages. 
One was instantly secured, but the eldest defended 
herself desperately with a knife which she had been 
using at the loom, and stabbed one of the Indians to 
the heart, before she was tomahawked. 

In the mean time the little girl, who had been over- 
looked by the enemy in their eagerness to secure the 
others, ran out into the yard, and might have effected 
her e^ape, had she taken advantage of the darkness 
and fled, but instead of that the terrified little creature 
ran around the house wringing her hands, and crying 
out her sisters were killed. The brothers, unable to 
hear her cries, without risking every thing for her 
rescue, rushed to the door and were preparing to 
sally out to her assistance, when their mother threw 
herself before them and calmly declared that the child 
must be abandoned to its fate ; that the sally would 
sacrifice the lives of all the rest without the slightest 
benefit to the little girl. Just then the child uttered 
a loud scream, followed by a few faint moans arid all 



THE WIDOW SCRAGGS. 117 

was again silent. Presently the crackling of flames 
was heard, accompanied by a triumphant yell from 
the Indians, announcing that they had set fire to that 
division of the house which had been occupied by 
the daughters, and of which they held undisputed 
possession. 

The fire was quickly communicated to the rest of 
the building, and it became necessary to abandon it 
or perish in the flames. In the one case there was a 
possibility that some might escape, in the other their 
fate would be equally certain and terrible. The rapid 
approach of the flames cut short their momentary sus- 
pense. The door was thrown open, and the old lady, 
supported by her eldest son, attempted to cross the 
fence at one point, while her daughter carrying her 
child in her arms, and attended by the younger of 
the brothers, ran in a different direction. The blazing 
roof shed a light over the yard bat little infenor to 
that of day, and the savages were distinctly seen 
awaiting the approach of their victims. The old lady 
was permitted to reach the stile unmolested, but in 
the act of crossing, received several balls in her breast 
and fell dead. Her son, fortunately, remained unhurt, 
and by extraordinary agility, effected his escape. 

The other party succeeded also in reaching the 
fence unhurt, but in the act of crossing was vigorously 
assailed by several Indians, who throwing down their 
guns, rushed upon them with their tomahawks. The 
young man defended his sister gallantly, firing upon 



118 HEROIC WOMEN OF TOE WEST. 

the enemy as they approached, and then wielding tho 
butt of his rifle with a fury that drew their whole at- 
tention upon himself, and gave his sister an oppor- 
tunity of effecting her escape. He quickly fell, how- 
ever, under the tomahawks of his enemies, and was 


found at day light, scalped and mangled in a shock- 
ing manner. Of the whole family, consisting of eight 
persons, when the attack commenced, only three es- 
caped. Four were killed upon the spot, and one (the 
second .daughter) carried off as a prisoner. 

The neighborhood was quickly alarmed, and by 
daylight, about thirty men were assembled under the 
command of Colonel Edwards. A light snow had fallen 
during the latter part of the night, and the Indian 
trail could be pursued at a gallop. It led directly into 
the mountainous country bordering upon Licking, and 
afforded evidences of great hurry and precipitation on 
the part of the fugitives. Unfortunately, a hound had 
been permitted to accompany the whites, and as the 
trial became fresh and the scent warm, she followed 
it with eagerness, baying loudly and giving the alarm 
to the Indians. The consequences of this imprudence 
were soon displayed. The enemy finding the pursuit 
keen, and perceiving that the strength of the prisoner 
began to fail, instantly sunk their tomahawks in her 
head and left her still warm and bleeding upon the 
snow. 

As the whites came up, she retained strength 
enough to wave her hand in token of recognition, and 



THE WIDOW SCRAGGS. 119 

appeared desirous of giving them some information, 
with regard to the enemy, but her strength was too 
far gone. Her brother sprung from his horse and 
knelt by her side, endeavoring to stop the effusion of" 
blood, but in vain. She gave him her hand, muttered 
some inarticulate words, and expired within two mi- 
nutes of the arrival of the party. The pursuit was 
renewed, and in twenty minutes the enemy was in 
view. They had taken possession of a steep, narrow 
ridge, and endeavored to magnify their numbers by 
rapidly passing from tree to tree, and yelling in ap- 
palling tones. The pursuers, however, were satisfied 
that the enemy were inferior in number to themselves, 
and dismounting from their horses, rapidly ascended 
the ridge. The firing soon commenced, when they 
discovered that only two Indians were opposed to 
them. They had voluntarily sacrificed themselves 
for the safety of the main body, and had succeeded 
in delaying pursuit until their friends could reach the 
mountains. One of them was instantly shot dead, 
and the other was badly wounded, as was evident from 
the blood which filled his tracks in the snow. The 
pursuit was recommenced, until night, when the trail 
entered a running stream and was lost. On the fol- 
lowing morning the snow had melted, and every trace 
of the eneiry was obliterated. 



MRS. WOODS. 

AMONG the many instances of women successfully 
defending their homes in the absence of their husbands, 
the achievement of Mrs. Woods deserves to be remem- 
bered. This woman resided in a cabin near the Crab 
Orchard, Lincoln county, Kentucky. Early one morn- 
ing, sometime in the year 1784, Mr. Woods being ab- 
sent from home, and Mrs. Woods a short distance from 
the cabin, she discovered several Indians advancing 
towards it. She ran towards the cabin, and reached 
the door before all the Indians but one, who pursued 
BO closely, that before she could secure the door, he 
entered. A lame negro in the cabin instantly seized 
the savage, and, after a short scuffle, they both fell 
the negro underneath. The resolute black fellow hold 
his antagonist so tightly that he could not use his 
knife. Mrs. Woods then seized an axe from under 
the bed, and, at the^ request of the negro, struck the 
savage upon the head. The first blow was not fatal : 
but the second scattered the brains of the Indian 
around the cabin. In the meantime, the other Indians 
(120) 



MRS. WOODS. 121 

were at the door endeavoring to force it open \vith 
their tomahawks. The negro arose, and proposed to 
Mrs. Woods to let another Indian enter, and they 
could soon dispatch him. In this way they could have 
disposed of the whole party. But this was rendered 
unnecessary. The cabin was but a short distance from 
a station, the occupants of which, having discovered 
the perilous situation of the Woods family, fired on 
the Indians, killed one, and put the others to flight. 

Throughout this trying time, Mrs. Woods behaved 
with the courage and devotion of a lioness defending 
her offspring. Had she not retained her presence of 
mind, and aided the efforts of the brave negro, a scene 
of massacre and desolation would have followed the 
appearance of the savages. 



THE CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN" 
AND HER FAMILY. 

THE following romantic and interesting narrative 
is copied from the Whig Review. 

From the year of 1780 to 1790, many of the best 
families of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia, sought 
homes beyond the mountains. Many of them, patriotic 
republicans, who had sacrified every thing for their 
country, in the struggle for independence, and hoped 
to have found, in the secluded vales and thick forests 
of the west, that peace and quiet which they had not 
found amid the din of civil and foreign war, soon ex- 
perienced all the horrors of a savage, marauding, 
guerilla warfare, which swept away their property, 
and deprived them of their wives and children, either 
by a barbarous death, o r not less agonizing slavery 
as captives, dragged into the wild recesses of the 
Indian borders. 

Many fearful tales of these bloody scenes, which 
would illustrate the early history of Tennessee, are 
only known to a few, as family traditions, and even 
(122) 



CAPTIVITY OP JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 123 

among the descendants of the sufferers, are only re- 
membered as stories of the nursery, and not as chap- 
ters of the great historic record of the past. " It is 
not always," says Pluturch, " in the most distinguished 
achievements that man's virtues or vices may be best 
discerned ; but often an action of small note, or short 
saying, or a jest, shall distinguish a person's real 
character more than the greatest sieges or the most 
important battles." And so it is, in some sort, with 
the history of a people or a nation. The experiences,- 
the sufferings, and conduct of a single individual of a 
community, may better illustrate the condition, pro- 
gress, or character of the people, than whole chapters 
devoted to a campaign. 

In this point of view, the traditional recollections 
which are detailed in the following sketch of the fa- 
mily of James Brown, connected as they were, so inti- 
mately with some of the most important political 
events of that period, cannot fail to throw new light 
upon the pioneer history of the country, and inspire 
our hearts with renewed gratitude to those hardy, but 
wise men and women, who built up so goodly a state, 
amid so many troubles, in the dark and bloody valleys 
of the Shanvanon, Tanasees, and Ho-go-hegee. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Pennsylvania, 
about the year 1740. Her father was a pioneer in 
the settlement of North Carolina. Her family waa 
one of the most respectable, as well as the most worthy, 
in the county of Guilford, where they resided during 



124 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the revolutionary war. Two of her brothers, Colonel 
and Major Gillespie, where distinguished for theif 
gallantry and devotion to the cause of liberty, and 
were honored as brave officers. Herself and most of 
her family were members of the Rev. David CaldwelTl 
church at Guilford, and ardently espoused both his 
political and religious principles. 

About 1761 or 1762, Miss Gillespie became the 
wife of James Brown, a native of Ireland, whose fa- 
mily settled in Guilford some years before. At the 
beginning of the revolution, Mrs. Brown had a large 
family of small children, but she freely gave up her 
husband when his country demanded his services. 
During the masterly retreat of General Greene, in the 
winter of 1781, on Dan and Deep rivers, Mr. Brown 
was the pilot and guide of Colonels Lee and Washing- 
ton, and, by his intimate knowledge of the country, 
its by-paths and fords, contributed not a little to the 
successful counter-marches of the American army, by 
which they were enabled to elude and break the spirit 
of the army under Lord Cornwallis. When the Ame- 
rican army assumed the offensive, and, from a retreat- 
ing, suddenly became a pursuing army, Brown pr 
eagerly into the fight with the bold troopers of Lee 
and Washington. 

Being in moderate circumstances, and pressed by 
the cares of a large and increasing family, Brown's 
ardent temperament was not satisfied with the pros- 
pect of a plodding life of toil in Guilford. For his 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 125 

revolutionary services he had received from the state 
of North Carolina, land-warrants, which entitled him 
to locate a large quantity of lands in the wilderness 
beyond the mountains. His neighbors had honored 
him as the sheriff of the county, and as a justice of 
the county court, and he was rapidly rising in the 
estimation of his countrymen, for his patriotism, integ- 
rity, and many other virtues of a good citizen. But 
he readily saw the advantages which he might secure 
to his rising family by striking out into the deep fo- 
rests, and securing for them the choicest homes in 
the Cumberland valleys. He could command only a 
trifle in money for his land-script, but by exposing 
himself to a few years of hardship and danger, he 
could secure independent estates for his numerous 
children. With him it was but to think and to act ; 
his decision and his action went together. Tearing 
himself from the bosom of his family, and all the en- 
dearments of a happy home circle, he set out on his 
journey to explore the valley of the Cumberland. 

The whole of Tennessee was then a wilderness, ex- 
cept a small spot on the Holston and Watauga, on the 
east, and a small spot around Nashville and Bledsoe's 
Lick, on the west of the Cumberland mountains. 
Taking with him his two oldest sons, William and 
John, and a few tried friends, he explored the Cum- 
berland valley. He secured lands on the Cumberland 
river below Nashville, at the place now known as 
Hyde's Ferry. He also explored the wilderness south, 



126 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

as far as Duck river, and located a large body of land 
south, of Duck river, near Columbia. Tbe whole 
country was then almost untrod by the foot of the 
white man. It was the hunting-ground of the Chica- 
saws, Creeks, and Cherokecs, and was full of deer, 
bear, and buffaloes. The rich uplands, as well as the 
alluvial bottoms of the rivers, were covered with cane- 
brakes, which were almost impervious to man. Who- 
ever penetrated these regions, did so with knife and 
hatchet to cut away the cane, and with rifle to oppose 
the savage beasts and savage men who swarmed 
through its deep fastnesses. But Brown's heart was 
a bold one, and his hopes for the future animated 
his perseverance. Having located by actual survey, 
several fine tracts of land, he determined to return to 
Guilford and remove his family to their new home in 
the west. Leaving William as a deputy surveyor 
under Colonel Polk, and John to open and cultivate 
a small field, and build some cabins at the mouth of 
White's creek, he returned to North Carolina. 

In the winter of 178788, Brown and his family, 
having disposed of their property, found themselvea 
on the banks of the French Broad, in what is now 
Hawkins county, Tennessee, waiting the opening of 
the spring, before beginning their journey across the 
mountains to the Cumberland valley. 

In 1785, the treaty of Hopewell had been concluded 
with the Cherokees, guaranteeing reciprocal friend- 
ship between that nation and the Americans. At the 



CAPTIVITY OF JAXE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 127 

time Brown arrived on the banks of the French Broad, 
there was apparent aequiesence in the terms of thia 
treaty, and the Cherokee and the Avhite man seemed, 
for a time, to have smoked the pipe of peace, and buried 
the tomahawk for ever. 

There were two routes to the Cumberland valley at 
this time : the one was by land, the other by water. 
The land route was a long and tedious one ; through 
the Cumberland Gap, across the head-waters of the 
Cumberland, Green, and Barren rivers, in Kentucky, 
to Bleclsoe's Lick, or Nashville. The other route was 
easier of accomplishment, and more desirable ; because, 
being by the descent of the river, it admitted of the 
transportation of goods and aged persons. Brown, on 
his recent visit to Cumberland, had heard of Colonel 
Donaldson's voyage down the Tennessee, up the Ohio 
and Cumberland, to Nashville, and of one or two other 
parties who had succeeded in making the same voyage. 
As he had women and small children, and packages 
of goods, which he was taking to the West, he resolved 
to hazard the descent of the Tennessee river. 

He was not ignorant of the fact that there were many 
populous Indian towns on the Tennessee river, of both 
the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations, and that ma- 
rauding parties of Creeks and Shawanese were often 
on its shores and towns. He knew the danger of the 
voyage, on account of the hostile Indians who might 
he encountered on its waters or its shores ; and he also 
knew its numerous shoals, rapids, and eddies, rendered 



128 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Its navigation perilous to such frail open boats as could 
then be constructed. But he confided in the honest 
disposition of the Cherokees to conform to the treaty 
of Hope well, and felt that the marauding Creeks and 
Shawanese would prove less dangerous on the water 
than on the circuitous land route to the Cumberland. 
Having been habitually exposed to danger for many 
years, it is probable he rather sought the most perilous 
and dangerous route, feeling a sort of manly desire to 
meet and overcome it. 

Having built a boat, after the style of a common 
flatboat, modeled as much as possible after the style 
of Noah's ark, (except that it was open at the top,) he 
prepared to venture the fearful voyage. About the 
1st of May, 1788, having on board a large amount of 
goods suitable for traffic among the Indians and the 
pioneers in Cumberland, his party embarked upon the 
bosom of French Broad. The party was a small and 
weak one, considering the dangers it had to encounter, 
and the valuable cargo it had to defend. It consisted 
of Brown, two grown sons, three hired men and a negro 
man, in all, seven grown men ; Mrs. Brown, three small 
sons, and four small daughters ; an aged woman, the 
mother of one of the hired men, and two or three negro 
women, the property of Brown. 

To make up for the weakness of his party, Brown 
had mounted a small cannon upon the prow of his 
boat, and no doubt relied as much for his security 
upon the known terror which such guns inspired ir 



CAPTIVITY OP JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 129 

the breasts of the savages, as upon any damage which 
he expected to inflict upon them with it. Thus ap- 
pointed, and thus equipped, this happy family began 
its eventful descent of the French Broad and the 
Tennessee. 

All was gladness, all was sunshine. The land of 
their fathers, of their loving friends and pastor, was 
behind them ; beneath their oars flashed the bright 
waters of a lovely stream, whose winding channel 
would soon bear them to the enchanted valley of the 
fair Cumberland. As they passed rapidly along the 
ciyrent which was to bear them to their new home, 
the father sat in the midst of his little children, hope- 
fully describing their new home in the deep forests of 
the west. 

They thus descended the French Broad to the Ten- 
nessee, and went on merrily down its waters to the 
Chickamanga, a considerable town of Cherokee In 
dians, situated not far from the present site of Chat- 
tanooga. Here the Indians appeared friendly ; the 
principal chief went on board the boat, and made in- 
quiry for various kinds of goods, prepared to trade, 
and finally took his leave, with many professions of 
kindness. Our voyagers continued their descent, re- 
joicing in the happy omen which the friendship of the 
Chickamanga chieftain opened for their future. 

The next day, the 9th of May, the solitary perogue 
or flatboat of the pioneer Brown had passed several 
Indian villages, and had come in view of the towns of 
9 



130 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE -\VE.-T. 

Running Water and Nickajack, the last Cherokee 
towns where there was any considerable body of In- 
dians. The voyagers began to rejoice in their happy 
deliverance from the principal dangers which had 
threatened their journey. They would in a few hours 
be through the passes of the mountain, on the wide 
bosom of a noble river, where they would be compara- 
tively free from the ambuscade of lurking Indians. 

* O 

But suddenly four canoes with white flags and naked 
savages kneeling in them as rowers, glide out into the 
river and rapidly approach ; fearing some mischief, 
Brown immediately turned his cannon upon the ap- 
proaching canoes, and, with the lighted match, bade 
them keep off at the peril of their lives. 

Struck with astonishment at the bold threat, they 
paused, and pulled their frail canoes a little out of range 
of the big gun. A man by the name of John Vaun, a 
well-known half-breed, who spoke good English, was 
the leader of the party, but he was unknown to Brown. 
Vaun spoke to Brown, and said that his party came in 
friendship ; that, as an evidence of that, they had raised 
a white flag ; that they came as his friends to trade 
with him. Brown, who was a bold and fearless man, 
and dared to face a thousand savages, still kept them 
off; but at last, confiding in the assurance of Vaun that 
he was a white man, and that the Indians would respect 
the persons and property of his party, in an unguarded 
moment consented that a part of the Indians might 
come on board. A dozen Indians now came on board, 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 131 

and lashed their canoes to the side of the boat. A3 
they came near the town, hundreds of Indians dashed 
out into the river in their canoes, and came along side 
of their boat. Having thus secured possession of the 
boat, the leading men, more especially Yaun, assured 
Brown that no harm was intended. In the meantime, 
each Indian seized upon whatever he fancied, and 
threw 7 it into his canoe. In this way several boxes 
and trunks were instantly rifled. Vaun pretended to 
order his fellows to abstain, but they paid no atten- 
tion to him. A bold warrior now demanded of Brown 
the key of a large chest, which contained his most 
valuable stores, which he refused to give, telling the 
Indians that Mrs. Brown had it. The Indian now 
demanded it of Mrs. Brown, but she boldly refused to 
give it up. 

The Indian then split the top of the chest open with 
his tomahawk, and his example was immediately fol- 
lowed by the other Indians, who broke open and rifled 
every box and package in the boat. While this was 
going on, an Indian rudely took hold of Joseph Brown, 
a lad fifteen years old, and the old man seized the 
Indian and forced him to let the boy go. An instant 
after, the Indian seized a sword which was lying on 
the boat, and while old Brown's back was turned to 
him, struck him on the back of the neck, almost se- 
vering his head from his body. Brown turned in the 
agony of death and seized the Indian, and in the 
struggle was thrown overboard, where he sank to rise 



132 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

no more. The boat was now turned into the mouth 
of a little creek, in the town of Nickajack. and the 
whole party taken on shore, in the midst of sort-nil 
hundred warriors, women, and children. In the mean- 
time, Vaun continued to tell the sons of Brown that 
all this was a violation of the treaty of Ilopewell, and 
that Breath, who was the chief of Nickajack and llun- 
ning Water, who was expected there that night, would 
punish the marauders, restore their goods, and send 
them on their voyage. But at this very moment, se- 
veral leading warriors of the upper towns had seized 
upon Brown's negroes as lawful spoil, and had dis- 
patched them in canoes to their several homes. What- 
ever may have been Vaun's true motives, his interfe- 
rence on this occasion had the effect to place the whole 
party at the mercy of the Indians, without a particle 
of resistance. If he acted in good faith, he was shame- 
fully deceived by his followers ; but if he only used 
his address to disarm the voyagers, that they might 
the more easily fall victims to savage ferocity, his con- 
duct exhibits the climax of perfidy. 

A party of Creek braves, who were engaged with 
the men of Nickajack and Running Water in this out- 
rage, having seized upon their share of the plunder, 
and having taken possession of Mrs. Brown and her 
son George, ten years, old, and three small daughters, 
immediately began their march to their own nation. 
While the Cherokecs were deliberating upon the fate 
of the prisoners and a division of the spoils, they adroitiy 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 133 

withdrew from the council, on the plea that all this 
belonged to the head men of Nickajack. Thus, in one 
short hour, deprived of husband, sons, friends, liberty, 
and all, this devoted woman, with her five smallest 
children, began her sad journey on foot, along the 
rugged, flinty trails that lead to the Creek towns, on 
the Tallapoosa river. 

At the time of this outrage, there was living at or 
near Nickajack, a French trader, named Thomas Tun- 
bridge, who was married to a white woman, who had 
been taken prisoner near Mobile, when an infant, and 
raised by the Indians. After she was grown, she was 
exchanged, but refused to leave the Indians, distrust- 
ing her abilities to adapt her habits to civilized life. 
She had been married to an Indian brave, by whom 
she had a son, now twenty-one years old, who was one 
of the boldest warriors of the Cherokee towns. He 
had already killed six white men in his forays to the 
Cumberland settlement. Having all the versatility of 
his mother's race, as well as the ferocity of his father, 
he was fast rising into distinction as a warrior, and 
bade fair to reach the first honors of his nation. His 
praises for daring and chivalry were in the mouths 
of all, 

His mother was now growing old, and having no 
young children, her son desired to present to her some 
bright-eyed boy as a slave ; for, according to the savage 
code of the times, each captive became a slave to ita 
captor. This woman's son, whose name was KiacLa 



134 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

talee, was one of the leaders of the marauding party 
who hud seized upon Brown's boat, and from the first 
knew the fate of the party. Before the boat landed, 
he tried to induce Joseph, a boy then fifteen years old, 
but quite small, to get into his canoe, with the inten- 
tions of withdrawing him from the general massacre, 
that was soon to take place, but the boy would not go 
with him. When the boat landed, Kiachatalee took 
Joseph to his step-father, Tunbridge, who in good En- 
glish told the boy that he lived a mile out of the town, 
and invited him to go and spend the night with him. 
This the boy did, after asking the consent of his older 
brothers. Tunbridge seized the boy by the hand and 
hurried him away. 

They had scarcely gone out of the town before they 
heard the rifles of the savage braves, who were mur- 
dering his brothers and friends, ^hat were the feel- 
ings of this poor boy at this moment ? His father 
slain by an Indian brave ; his brothers and friends 
weltering in their blood, amidst the yells of savage 
assassins; and his mother and brother, and sisters 
borne off, he knew not whither, by a band of lawless 
Creek marauders ! To add to this agony at such a 
moment, an aged Indian woman, with hair dishevelled, 
and her round, fat face discolored, with excitement, 
followed them to the trader's house, calling upon Tun- 
bridge to produce the white man, exclaiming with a 
fiendish air of triumph, " All the rest are killed, aud 
he must die also !" 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 135 

The trader calmly replied to her, " He's only a little 
boy. It's a shame to kill children. He shall not be 
killed." 

The old hag was excited, and vowed that the boy 
should be killed. She said, " He was too large to allow 
him to live. In two or three years he would be a man ; 
he would learn the country, its towns and its rivers ; 
would make his escape, and come back with an army . 
of white men to destroy us all." She said her son,. 
Cutty-a-toy, was a brave chief, and that he would be 
there in a few minutes to kill the boy. 

In a few minutes, Cutty-a-toy, followed by many 
armed warriors, rushed upon the trader's house, and 
demanded the white boy. The chief said the boy was 
too large, that he would soon be grown, would make 
his escape, and bring back an army to destroy their 
town. 

The trader stood, with cool courage, in the door of 
his lodge, and refused to surrender the prisoner, saying 
it was not right to kill children, and also warning the 
angry chief that the boy was the prisoner of Kiacha- 
talee, his son, and, if he was injured or slain, Kiacha- 
. talee would be revenged for it. As Kiachatalee was 
only a young warrior, and Cutty-a-toy a chief and a 
gray-beard, this threat of revenge greatly incensed 
him. In an instant he raised his tomahawk, and, with 
the air of a man who intends a deed of murder, de- 
manded of the trader, " And are you the friend of the 
Virginian ?" 



136 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Answering the look rather than the words, the trader 
stepped out of his door, and said to the bloody brave, 
"Take him." 

Cutty-a-toy then rushed into the trader's lodge, seized 
the boy by the throat, and was about to brain him with 
his tomahawk, when the wife of Tunbridge interposed, 
in a tone of supplication which at once succeeded. 

" Will the brave chieftain kill the boy in my house ? 
Let not the boy's blood stain my floor." 

The appeal of the woman reached the savage's heart. 
He dropped his weapon and slowly dragged the boy 
out of the lodge into the midst of a crowd of savages, 
who waved their knives and hatchets in the poor boy's 
face, in order to enjoy his terror. 

In the path which led from the house the boy fell 
upon his knees while the savages were tearing off his 
clothes, and asked the trader to request the savages to 
give him one half hour to pray. The trader roughly 
replied, "Boy it's not worth while ; they'll kill you." 
As the boy stood in momentary expectation of his fate, 
the trader's wife again interposed, and begged the 
savage' chief not to kill the boy in her yard, or in the 
path along which she had to carry water, but to take 
him out in the mountains, where the birds and wolves, 
might eat up his flesh, where she could not see his 
blood !" 

The appeal of the woman was again heard, and 
giving the boy his pantaloons, they held a short talk, 
and agreed to take the boy down to the Running 



. CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 137 

Water, saying to the trader's wife, " We will not spill 
this boy's blood near your house ; but we will take 
him to the Running Water, where we will have a 
frolic knocking him in the head." 

Having gone about three hundred yards, they halted 
and formed a circle around the boy, and with their 
tomahawks seemed to be on the point of killing him. 
The boy again fell upon his knees, and, with his face 
upturned towards heaven, and his hands firmly clasped 
on his breast, remained in prayer, expecting at each 
moment the fatal blow. At this dreadful moment the 
boy thought of Stephen, to whose vision the heavens 
were opened at the moment of his death and was 
happy. As the savage braves stood around him, young 
Brown saw their stern brows of revenge suddenly relax, 
and a smile of sympathy and pity succeed. They called 
the trader, told him to take the boy, that they would 
not kill him ; and Cutty-a-toy said he loved the boy 
and would come back in three weeks and make friends 
with him. It was afterwards ascertained that Cutty- 
a-toy had taken some of Brown's negroes, and claimed 
them as his prisoners, and that his fear lest Kiacha- 
talee might retaliate by killing his negro prisoners, 
was the thought which suddenly turned Cutty-a-toy to 
mercy and pity. So thought his own followers, for 
when he said he loved the boy, and would not kill him, 
his savage followers replied : 

"No, no, he does not love the boy; it's the boy's 
negro he loves." 



138 HEROIC WOMEN OF TEE WEST. 

"\Yhen Cutty-a-toy's mother saw that the boy's lif 
would not be taken, she seemed displeased ; Avent up 
to the boy and cut off his scalp-lock, and kicked him 
so rudely in the side as almost to kill him, exclaiming, 
"I've got the Virginian's scalp." 

The Tuskegee chief, Cutty-a-toy, led his party aAvay, 
leaving the boy in the hands of the trader and his wife. 
In two or three days, the boy Avas taken into Nicka- 
jack, and the kind old chief, Breath, who greatly re- 
gretted what had taken place in his absence, took 
Joseph by the hand, calmly heard a narrative of his 
situation from the trader's Avife, and then told the boy 
that he must be adopted into his tribe, and become an 
Indian, if he would save his life ; that there was no 
other way in Avhich his life could be saved. To that 
end, the chief adopted him into his own family, and 
told Joseph that he was his uncle, and that Kiachatalee 
was his brother. His head Avas then shaved, leaving 
only a fillet of hair on the top, in which a bunch of 
feathers was tied, his ears pierced for rings, and his 
clothes taken off; the flap substituted for troAvsers, and 
a short shirt substituted for a coat, shirt, and vest, and 
his nether vestments consisting of a pair of deer-skin 
moccasins. In this condition he was pronounced an 
Indian, Avith the exception of a slit in each ear, Avhich 
the kindness of the chief deferred making until cold 
weather. The trader's wife took him to see his twc 
sisters, Jane, aged ten, and Polly, aged five years, whc 
had just been brought back to Nickajack ; a party of 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 13? 

Cherokees having pursued the Creek braves, and re- 
captured from them these two small girls, after they 
had been taken some distance towards the Creek towns. 
From his sister Jane, Joseph learned the destination 
of the party who had carried off his mother, his bro- 
ther George, and sister Elizabeth. These children 
were now in the same town, adopted into different 
families, and it was a source of consolation to them 
to be allowed to see each other occasionally. In the 
various toils which were imposed upon these captive 
children, such as carrying water and wood, pounding 
hominy, and working corn in the fields, and, on the 
part of the boy, in looking after the stock, nearly a 
year passed off, without many incidents worthy of 
note. Hostile parties of savages came and went, and 
tales of barbarous deeds done by them on the distant 
frontiers were often told in the hearing of these child- 
ren, but none of them brought deliverance for them. 
Yet in but few instances did the savage neighbors of 
these captive children treat them unkindly. Three or 
four times the boy's life was in danger from lawless 
braves, whose blood-thirsty natures panted for the 
blood of the white man. The good old chief, Breath, 
hearing of these things, caused young Brown to be 
armed, and declared it should be lawful for him to slay 
any Indian who should mistreat him. 

In a few months Joseph was allowed a rifle and a 
horse, and permitted to go into the woods to hunt. He 
might often have availed himself of the kindness of 



140 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

his savage friends, and made his escape to the frontiers, 
but he loved his little sisters, and his love for them 
restrained his desire for freedom, least his escape 
might add to the rigors of their slavery or perhaps for 
ever prevent their deliverance. 

In the mf antime, an open war had heen going on 
between the Indians and the people of Cumberland 
and East Tennessee. Two thousand warriors, prin- 
cipally Cherokees, of whom four or five hundred were 
horsemen, dressed as white men, made an irruption 
into East Tennessee, killing every thing before them. 

During this invasion, the Indians, sending forward 
their mounted men, dressed as white men, were enabled 
to surprise many, and thus to make a havoc which 
they could not have done otherwise. This irruption 
of the Indians was caused, they alleged, by the murder 
of Tassel, their chief, when he had gone under a white 
flag to General Sevier, to hold a talk. In this foray, the 
Indians took Fort Gillespie, murdered the garrison, 
and carried off Mrs. Glass, the sister of Captain 
Gillespie. 

The whole country was aroused. General Joseph 
Martin and General John Sevier headed a large army, 
marched into the Indian nation, burnt their towns, 
and carried off their women and children. Amongst 
other prisoners taken at this time, was the daughter 
of Turkey, the chief of the Cherokees. 

In the spring of 1789, an exchange of prisoners was 
agreed upon, at a talk held with General >Sevier. It 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 141 

was agreed that the Cherokees should make an abso- 
lute surrender of all the white prisoners within their 
borders, and runners were sent to each of the head 
men, to send their captives to the Little Turkey for 
an exchange. When these runners came to Nickajack, 
young Brown was on a trading trip down the river 
with his Indian brother, Kiachatalee, and did not re- 
turn until Mrs. Glass and all the other prisoners had 
gone up to Running Water, where the chief was await- 
ing their arrival. 

When young Brown got home, he was sent with one 
of his sisters to Running Water, in order to be sent 
up to the treaty-grounds to be exchanged. His little 
sister would not leave her Indian mother, who had 
ever treated her kindly, but wept and clung to her 
neck, declaring that it would break her Indian mo- 
ther's heart if she left her. This tender feeling was 
a triba'^ ^o savage kindness ; but young Brown finally 
took his sister in his arms, and carried her some dis- 
tance before he could reconcile her to go with him. 
His eldest sister belonged to a trader, who said he 
had bought her with his money, and would not let her 
go. Young Brown had to leave her behind, being 
wholly unable to redeem her. 

At Running Water, young Brown heard Turkey, 
the head chief, stating to his chiefs around him the 
terms of the treaty he had made ; and in doing so, 
his followers upbraided him for agreeing to deliver 
so many prisoners without any ransom. 



142 HEROIC WOMEN or THE WEST. 

To this the chief replied, " That Little John, (Go- 
vernor Sevier) would have it so ; that he was a very 
mean man a dog ; but he had my daughter a pri- 
soner, and he knew I would have to agree to any 
terms, to get her back." 

The next morning, when the Indian chief was about 
to start his prisoners forward, young Brown refused 
to go, and was taken to the chief to give his reasons, 
lie then stated that one of his sisters was left in Nick- 
ajack, and that he never would consent to be set at 
liberty -without his sister. The savage chief imme- 
diately sent for the girl, and, after some delay, Co- 
lonel Bench, the chief of the mounted regiment of 
Indians, went himself, and brought the girl to Running 
Water. Thus, about the 1st of May, 1789, young 
Brown and his two sisters were once more restored to 
liberty. Being reduced to poverty, these now orphan 
children were sent into South Carolina, to sojourn 
with some relatives, until their elder brother, who wag 
in Cumberland, could go after them, or until their 
mother should be released from her captivity amongst 
the Creeks. 

In order to keep up the thread of our narrative, we 
must now return to the 9th of May, 1788, and con- 
tinue the narrative of Mrs. Brown's captivity. Having 
seen her husband fall by the hands of the savages, she 
was hurried away by her captors, and took the road 
southward, just as she heard the yells and rifles of 
the cruel savages, who also murdered her sons and 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 143 

their companions. What must have been the feelings 
of horror and agony of this poor woman, herself a 
prisoner in the hands of she knew not whom, and 
borne she knew not whither ! To add to the horror 
of her situation, she soon saw two of her sweet little 
daughters torn from her side by a party of Cherokees, 
and borne back, she knew not whither, nor for what 
purpose. 

Driven forward on foot for many days and nights, 
she continued to bear up under the bodily fatigues 
and mental anguish by which she was tortured, her 
feet blistered arid swollen, and driven before the band 
along a flinty path, every moment expecting death if 
she failed, and every moment expecting to fail ! She 
yet accomplishes many days' travel, and finally reaches 
one of the upper Creek towns, on the Tallapoosa, far 
down in the wilderness, the prisoner and slave of a 
savage brave. Arrived at the town of her captor, 
she finds she is a slave, doomed to bear wood and 
water, and to pound hominy, and to do all the servile 
offices of her savage mistress. To add to her distress, 
her son, nine years old, and her daughter, seven, are 
taken to different towns, and she is left indeed alone 
in her sorrow. 

At the period of Mrs. Brown's captivity, Alexander 
M'Gillevray, a half-breed Creek, of Scotch descent, 
was the head chief of the Muscogee Indians, and ac- 
tually assumed the high-sounding title of commander- 
fn-chief of the Upper and Lower Creeks and Semi 



144 HEROIC WOMEX OF THE WEST. 

noles ; being the military as well as the civil governor 
of all the Indians of Florida, Alabama, and Lower 
Georgia. He was a man of letters, of keen sagacity, 
forest-born and forest-bred, combining the shrewd- 
ness of the savage with the learning of the civilized 
man. Fortunately for Mrs. Brown, her cruel captor 
took her to a town in which lived a sister of M'Gille- 
vray, who was the wife of a French trader by the name 
of Durant. Her age and dignified bearing under the 
toils which were imposed upon her, excited the sym- 
pathy and compassion of this kind-hearted Indian wo- 
man. Several weeks passed before she found an oppor- 
tunity, but when Mrs. Brown's savage master was ab- 
sent, the wife of Durant spoke to her kindly, told her 
that she pitied her for her sorrow, and would, if she 
could, relieve her. She said that her brother, the chief 
of the Creeks, did not approve of his people making 
slaves of the white women ; and that he was a liberal, 
high-minded man, who had a soul of honor, and could 
never turn away from a helpless woman who flew to 
him for succor. " Why do you not fly to him ?" asked 
the simple-hearted woman. 

Mrs. Brown explained to her her total ignorance of 
the country, and her inability to reach the residence 
of Colonel M'Gillevray. The Indian woman listened 
to her, and then said, " It is true ; but if you will, there 
is my horse, and there is my saddle. You are wel- 
come to them ; but you must take them. I cannot give 
them, but my husband shall never pursue. You can 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 145 

take them without danger." It was arranged. On a 
certain morning the Indian woman sent an aged Indian 
to a trader's house, who was to act as the guide of Mrs. 
Brown that far, and from that point the trader was to 
procure a guide and a horse. 

At the appointed time, Mrs. Brown, mounted upon 
her friend's horse and saddle, started on in pursuit of 
her Indian guide, who travelled on as though he was 
entirely unconscious of her existence. She arrived in 
safety at the trader's lodge, and was by him furnished 
with a guide and horse to the chieftain's residence. 
Full of gratitude for intended kindness, yet she ap- 
proached the Creek chieftain with many feelings of 
doubt and misgiving. He received her kindly, heard 
her story attentively, and, after considering it well, 
gave Mrs. Brown a cordial welcome to his house, and 
bade her stay with his wife, as a member of his family, 
He explained to her that, according to the usage of 
his people ; she belonged to her captor, and that he 
had no right to take her from him. 

He said, however, that he could no doubt reconcile 
her master by some presents, when he should follow, 
as he no doubt would before long. He told her she 
could make shirts or other garments for the traders, 
and soon provide herself with every thing necessary 
for her comfort. In the meantime, he would furnish 
her with whatever she needed. Mrs. Brown accepted 
the savage chieftain's proffered protection, and took 
shelter under his roof. 
10 



146 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

She had been there but a few days when she was 
startled by the appearance of her savage master, who 
had followed her to her place of refuge. Fortunately 
for her, the chieftain was at home, and himself met 
her pursuer. The savage gruffly demanded of his chief- 
tain the white woman, his prisoner. 

Colonel M'Gillevray at once informed him that she 
was in his house, and that he had promised to protect 
her. The savage merely replied, " Well, if you do not 
give me back my prisoner, I'll kill her." The wily 
chieftain knew his man, and, humoring his temper, re- 
plied, " That is true. She is your prisoner, and you 
can kill her if you choose. I know she is a weak woman 
and you are a brave warrior. Would you tie the scalp 
of a squaw about your neck ?" 

" But she can carry water, and hoe corn, and pound 
hominy for my wife," said the Creek Avarrior; "and 
she's mine ; she's my prisoner." 

*' That's true," said the chieftain ; " but if you kill 
her, will she carry any more water ? Can the dead 
work ? If you will consent to leave her with me, so 
that I can send her back to her people, I will send your 
wife a new dress, and will give you a ri'fle, some powder 
and lead, and some beads and paints ; and when you 
go back to your wife, she will not see the blood of a 
woman upon your hands !" 

Savage cupidity overcame savage revenge, and Mrs. 
Brown became the ransomed captive of the brave and 
generous M'Gillevray; a noble instance of chivalry on 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 147 

the part of a savage chieftain, which reflects more 
honor on his name than the glory of a hundred battlea 
fought by his people during his chieftaincy. 

For several months Mrs. Brown plied her needle irj 
the chieftain's lodge, and, by her experience in the 
craft of needle-work, soon rendered herself useful to 
her savage friends, and by her dignity and energy 
commanded their respect. 

The chieftain, on his next visit to the upper Creek 
towns, found Mrs. Brown's daughter, Elizabeth, aged 
about seven years, and generously purchased her from 
her master, and upon his return home had the pleasure 
of restoring the sweet child to her distressed mother ; 
a grateful duty, nobly performed ! He also informed 
Mrs. Brown that he had seen her son, George, and 
tried to induce his master to part with him, but that 
he was so much attached to the boy, he would not part 
with him on any terms. But he assured her that he 
would not fail, as soon as possible, to ransom her son, 
and restore him also to her arms. 

In November, 1789, Colonel M'Gillevray had ap- 
pointed to meet commissioners, to arrange terms of 
peace, at Rock Landing, Georgia. On his departure 
for the treaty grounds, he took Mrs. Brown and her 
daughter, and there delivered them to her son, William, 
who came from South Carolina, and had gone thither 
in hopes that he might be enabled to hear something 
of her and her long lost children. 

Thus, in November, 1789, after eighteen months 



148 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

captivity, she Avas at last united with her surviving 
children. They spent a short time in South Carolina 
with some relatives, and returned to Guilfcrd, North 
Carolina, at last restored to her friends, whom she had 
left but two short years before. But oh ! what a change 
had taken place in her destiny since she had started 
westward Avith her husband and sons and neighbors, so 
full of life and hope ! All her captive children Avere 
now restored to her arms, except George, who Avas 
doomed to a still longer captivity. 

Mrs. Brown had two sons, who were in the Cumber- 
land valley on the 9th of May, 1788 ; William, the 
surveyor, and Daniel, aged twelve years, Avho went 
over the land route with some stock, to the Cumber- 
land valley. During her short stay in Guilford, her 
benefactor, the Creek chieftain, passed through Guild- 
ford, and sent word to Mrs. Brown that he was there. 
She immediately went with her brother Colonel Gil- 
lespie, Rev. Dr. CaldAvell, and her son, William, and 
Avith them thanked her benefactor. 

In addition, her brother offered to pay Colonel M'- 
Gillevray any sum which he might think proper to 
demand, as the ransom of Mrs. BroAvn and her daughter, 
but the generous Creek refused any compensation 
Avhatever. He said he OAved it to humanity and honor 
to do as he had done, and that to receive pay for it 
would dcpriA r e him both of the real pleasure and real 
honor of such a deed, lie assured Mr:-. BroAvn that 
lie Avoulcl not fail to use his best efforts to restore 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 141 

to her her son, and she might rely upon his finding out 
Borne means to accomplish so good an object. 

Mrs. Brown, with the remnant of her family, again 
turned her face westward, seeking the new home which 
the foresight of her husband had prepared for her and 
to which he was so boldly and so no,bly conducting 
them, when he perished, May 9th, 1788. And now 
at last, in 1792, this devoted woman and all her sur- 
viving children but one, find themselves at their new 
home, at the mouth of White's Creek, near Nashville. 
About this time, her son Joseph, while travelling with 
a small party of friends, was shot through the arm by 
a party of savages in ambush ; a severe wound, from 
which he did not recover for some time. 

In 1792, a formidable body of Creeks, Cherokees, 
and Shawanese, invaded Cumberland valley, attacked 
Buchanan's Station, and were repulsed with great loss. 
Young Joseph Brown came the next morning, with a 
large party of friends, to the assistance of Buchanan, 
but the Indians had retreated. Upon approaching the 
scene of action, what was young Brown's astonishment 
at finding his Indian brother, Kiachatalee, lying cold 
in death upon the field, near the walls of the fort 
against which he had so gallantly led the assault ! The 
next year, Joseph Brown attended a treaty at Tellico, 
in East Tennessee, where he met a nephew of Kiacha- 
talee, named Charles Butler, with whom he had been 
well acquainted while a prisoner at Nickajack. Butler 
gave him the Indian version of the attack on Bit 



150 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEFT. 

chanan's Station, and also the story of Kiachataiee's 
heroic death. lie said the assault was led by Kiacha- 
talee. That he attempted to set fire to the block-house, 
and was actually blowing it into a flame, when he was 
mortally wounded. He Sbntinued, after receiving h'ia 
mortal wound^to blow the fire, and to cheer his fol- 
lowers to the assault, calling upon them to fight like 
brave men, and never give up till they had taken the 
fort. The incidents connected with the attack on Bu- 
chanan's Station can be seen in Mrs. Ellett's "Women 
of the Revolution," vol. in., Article, Sarah Buchanan, 
in which the Shawanese chief is represented as per- 
forming the heroic part which Kiachatalee really per- 
formed, and not he. 

There are many incidents connected with frontier 
life, such as Mrs. Brown was now living, which are of 
every day occurrence, which would be interesting to 
the present generation, but the length of this sheet will 
necessarily exclude many of them. On one occasion, 
her oldest son, William, while in pursuit of a party of 
Indians near Nashville, was severely wounded in the 
arm, so that almost every member of her family, her- 
self included, had been captured, wounded, or slain by 
the hands of the Indians. 

These were trials which were hard to bear ; yet 
amidst all her troubles Mrs. Brown bore herself as an 
humble Christian, devoutly grateful to the Giver of 
all good, that he had guided her footsteps aright, in 
the midst of so many sorrows. 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 151 

In the year 1794, such had been the continued out- 
ages of the savages from the Lower Cherokee towns, 
in conjunction with Creeks and Shawanese, upon tha 
Cumberland settlements, that the principal pioneers 
resolved to fit out an expedition at their own expense, 
and march to Nickajack and Running^Water, and to 
punish these lawless people with fire and sword. The 
national administration had, by its commissioners, made 
treaty after treaty with the Cherokees, but still the 
people of these lower towns continued their depreda- 
tions, against the wishes of the upper Cherokees ; but 
it was impossible to induce the national government to 
take those decided steps which these bold pioneers 
knew were absolutely necessary to check the marauding 
spirit of the lower Cherokee towns. These towns were 
far down the Tennessee, in the midst of mountain fast- 
nesses, which the foot of hostile white man had never 
trod. They felt secure from all aggression, and re- 
posed in full confidence that, whoever might suffer on 
account of their incursions into Cumberland, their 
towns were unapproachable. 

At this time, young Joseph Brown was living near 
Nashville with his mother, and had recently gone with 
General Robertson to attend an Indian council at Tel- 
lico block-house. The intimate knowledge which young 
Brown had obtained of these lower towns ar.1 their 
people, by his residence there, enabled him to commu- 
nicate to this thoughtful old man a good idea of the 
country and the people from whom the Cumberland 



152 HEROIC WOMEX OF THE WEST. 

settlements had so long suffered. The death of Kia- 
chatalee at Buchanan's Station, on the 30th of Sep- 
tember, 17132 ; his war-like character, so well known 
to Brown, and his leadership as a warrior amongst the 
men of Nickajack and Running Water, all pointed out 
these towns as, the hives from which came forth such 
swarms of marauding Indians. 

Despairing of succor from the national government, 
General Robertson wrote to Colonel Whitley, of Ken- 
tucky, who was a well-known partisan, to be at X,i-h- 
ville, about September, 1794, with as many trusty rifle- 
men as he could bring with him. About the same time, 
Colonel Mansco, General Johnson, of Robertson, Co- 
lonel Montgomery, of Clarksville, and General Robert- 
son, each quietly raised a few trusty men. Major Ore 
commanded a squadron of mounted men, who were in 
the employ of the United States as rangers, to protect 
the frontiers of Cumberland. At the request of General 
Robertson, Major Ore arrived at Buchanan's Station 
just in time to join in the expedition. 

In the mean time, boats were made of hides, and 
tried in the Cumberland river, to ascertain their ca- 
pacity of transporting the troops across the Tennessee. 
These boats were made each out of two raw hides, as 
Jarge as could be got, sewed together, and each was 
found capable of carrying about fifty guns, and one or 
two men. They were capable of being rolled up and 
packed on mules or horses, and could in a few momenta 
be fully equipped and launched. 



CAPTIVITY OP JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 153 

All the parties being assembled, it was ascertained 
that there Avere about six hundred, including Major 
Ore's Rangers. As all but Ore's command were volun- 
teers, Avho came out without any authority, it Avas re- 
solved to give Major Ore the nominal command of the 
whole party, Avhich would give color of authority to the 
party to make the campaign, and would save them 
from the odium of making a lawless invasion of the 
Indian country. Colonel Whitley and Colonel Mansco 
were, hoAvever, the prime movers of the campaign, and 
had most of the responsibility of its conduct. But 
with the troops were more than a dozen leading partisan 
officers, who had been distinguished in many an Indian 
battle. 

On the 7th of September, 1794, this formidable 
army of invasion set out for Nickajack ; and, although 
the route had been unexplored, and the mountains 
and the river lay betAveen them arid their enemies, 
they had counted the cost, fitted out their boats, and 
had resolved to strike a bloAv that would teach the 
lawless Indians a severe lesson. 

The troops made a forced march, reached the Ten- 
nessee river just after dark on the fourth day, and in 
thirty minutes had their raAv-hide boats afloat in the 
river, ready to bear over the arms. They immediately 
began to cross the river, landing a short distance below 
the town of Nickajack. Most of the men swam over 
in perfect silence, their arms and clothes being con- 
veyed in the boats, and on rafts rudely constructed of 



154 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bundles of canes. In order to guide the swimmers, a 
vc-ry small fire was kindled at the water's edge, by the 
party which first crossed. Out of six hundred, only 
two hundred and thirty could be induced to cross over ; 
some holding back because they could not swim, and 
others because they were subject to the cramp ; and 
others, no doubt, reflecting upon the number of the 
enemy, and the difficulty of a retreat when once across 
so wide a river, did not feel quite willing " to stand 
the hazard of the die." But, in the face of appalling 
dangers, some men showed a stout-heartedness which 
might have done honor to the bravest of the brave. 
A young man by the name of Joseph B. Porter, who 
could not swim at all, tied an arrnful of dry canes to- 
gether, and, nothing daunted, plunged into the rapid 
river, and kicked himself over in safety. Young Brown 
although still lame in one arm, from the wound he had 
received in the Indian ambuscade, plunged into the 
river and swam safely over. 

At daylight, there were two hundred and thirty on 
the south bank of the Tennessee, within half a mile of 
Nicknjack, and yet they were undiscovered. 

Leaving young Brown, with twenty picked men, to 
guard, the crossing of the creek, at the lower end of 
the town, with instructions to meet them in the centre 
of the town as soon as he heard their fire, the main 
body turned towards the town, and came down upon 
it from above. 

Although Nickajack contained about three hundred 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 155 

warriors, they were so completely surprised that they 
made but little resistance ; but, flying precipitately, 
took to their canoes, and attempted to cross the river. 
Some fled to the Running Water, and others secreted 
themselves in the Ihickets. The whole town ran with 
blood. About seventy warriors were slain, and a large 
number of women and children taken prisoners. Young 
Brown carried the lower end of the town manfully, 
killing several warriors, and taking some prisoners. 
In one instance, Brown killed an Indian warrior in a 
a single combat, and carried away his scalp. 

As soon as Nickajack was taken, a detachment was 
sent to destroy Running Water. On the way, the 
Indians met them, and, after an obstinate resistance, 
gave way, but not till they had wounded three Ame- 
ricans, one of them Joshua Thomas mortally. 

Running Water was also taken, and both towns im- 
mediately reduced to ashes. 

Amongst the dead, Brown recognised the body of 
Breath, the generous chief who had adopted him into 
his family when he was a prisoner. 

In the towns, many articles of stolen property, 
which were recognised as belonging to men who had 
been killed in Cumberland valley, were found. In ad- 
dition to these, fresh scalps were found in Nickajack, 
as well as a number of letters, taken by the Indians 
from mail-bags, after having killed the rider. They 
also found a quantity of powder and lead, recently 
Bent by the Spanish government to these Indians. 



156 HEROIC WOMEN 0? THE WEST. 

Never was a visitation of this kind so justly meriteil 
as it was by these towns. They were the principal 
crossing-places for the war-parties of Creeks, Shuwa- 
nese, and Cherokees, who went to harass the Cumber- 
land settlements. But two days before their destruc- 
tion, a war-dance was held there, at which were seve- 
ral Cherokee chiefs, as well as Creeks, who had resolved 
to wage a still more relentless war on the frontiers. 

AVliile young Brown could not but feel that the hand 
of Providence had signally punished these towns for 
their outrage on the 9th of May, 1788, his exultation 
was prevented by the death of his brother-in-law, Joshua 
Thomas, a brave soldier, and a kind, generous friend, 
who was the only one slain by the enemy on this 
occasion. 

The prisoners recognised young Brown, and, alarmed 
for their safety, pleaded with him to save their lives, 
saying to him, that his life had once been spared by 
them. Brown assured them that they were in no 
danger ; that the white people never killed prisoners, 
women, and children. 

This blow was so unexpected and successful, that it 
inspired the Cherokees with a sincere desire for peace, 
which they soon after concluded, and never again vio- 
lated. Soon after this affair, young George Brown 
was liberated by the Creeks. 

Young Brown returned home, and lived some yeara 
with his mother. He was devoted to every relation of 
life. lie soon attached himself to Rev. Thomas B 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 157 

C'raighcad's congregation, near Hayesboro, and was 
made an elder in the church. 

For several years, young Brown, his mother, and 
brothers, memorialized the Congress of the United 
States to reimburse them for the goods and slaves 
taken from them on the 9th of May, 1788, in violation 
of the treaty of Hopewell. But their claims were still 
unregarded and still delayed, year after year, and 
Congress after Congress, and yet no relief. 

In the year 1806, a treaty was finally concluded 
with the Indians, which opened all the lands on Duck 
river to the occupation of those who had located their 
warrants there. Thus Mrs. Brown and her children 
came into possession of a large and splendid tract of 
land south of Columbia, to which she soon after removed 
with her son Joseph. 

During the Creek war of 1812-13, a large number 
of Cherokee Indians offered their services to General 
Jackson against their red brethern. General Jackson 
immediately wrote to Joseph Brown, who had lately 
been elected colonel by his neighbors, requesting him 
to consent to command a regiment of Cherokee In- 
dians. This Colonel Brown promptly agreed to do, 
and started to join the army for that purpose. Colonel 
Brown, however, never took charge of the Indians, but 
served with the army, as aid to General Robards. as 
well as interpreter and guide. 

Colonel Brown was thus a participant in the battle 
of Talladega, and had the honor of leading and con- 



158 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ducting a charge upon the most hotly contested part 
of the Indian lines. During this campaign, Colonel 
Drown again met Charles Butler, the nephew of Kia- 
chatalee, and learned from him that the old Tuskeget 
chief, Cutty-a-toy, was still alive. Through him, he 
learned, that he was then living on an island in the 
Tennessee river, near the mouth of Elle river, and that 
he had with him several negroes, the descendants ol 
the woman taken by him at Nickajack, on the 9th of 
May, 1788. 

Colonel Brown had, at that time, a claim before 
Congi'ess for the value of those negroes, but had always 
been put off by reason of some defect in the proof as 
to their value, or some other matter of form. He now 
determined that, as his negroes were still in the hands 
of the original wrong-doer, the Tuskegee chief, he 
would get possession of them, and carry them home. 

Colonel Brown stated to General Jackson the facts 
of the case, and demanded of him, and obtained, an 
order appointing a mixed commission of American 
and Cherokee officers, to value the negroes of Cutty-a- 
tny. The Cherokees had long been in peace with the 
whites, and were now in alliance with them against the 
Creeks ; and under such circumstances there waa 
friendly intercourse between them. 

With ten picked men, Brown proceeded to the is- 
land, went to the head man's lodge, and exhibited to 
him General Jackson's order, and demanded that 
Cutty-a-toy's negroes be immediately sent over to Fort 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BRCWN AND HER FAMILY. 159 

Hampton, to be valued, in pursuance of said order, 
The head man sent for Cutty-a-toy, and it was imme- 
diately agreed that all would go to the fort the next 
morning. 

The next morning, the negroes, Cutty-a-toy and his 
wife, and some friends, with Colonel Brown went tc 
the fort. In crossing the river, Colonel Brown and hia 
men took up the negroes, and Cutty-a-toy's wife be- 
hind them, to carry them over the water, while .the 
Indian men crossed on a raft higher up. 

When he reached the fort he directed his men to 
proceed with the negroes towards Ditto's landing, and 
he turned into the fort with Cutty-a-toy's wife, to await 
the arrival of the Indians. He immediately called on 
the commandant of the fort, Colonel Williams, stated 
the history of the case, and the order of General 
Jackson, and the failure of Congress to pay for these 
negroes, and the fact that these negroes were now in 
his possession ; and frankly asked him what course he 
would pursue, under the circumstances. " Take the 
negroes home with you," said the Colonel; "and if 
you wish to do it, and have not men enough, I will 
give you more." 

Upon the arrival of Cutty-a-toy and his followers, 
they were invited into the fort, and Colonel Brown 
made known to him that he had sent the negroes cflf, 
but was willing for the commissioners to proceed to 
value them. The Indian became enraged. At last, 
in the midst of the garrison, officers and men, and ih* 



100 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Indians, Colonel Bro\vn gave a brief narrative of ihe 
murder of his father by Cutty-a-toy's party, the murder 
of his brothers, and the captivity of his mother, small 
brother and sisters ; of the capture of the slaves by 
Cutty-a-toy, and his attempt upon Colonel Brown him 
self, then a boy at the house of the French trader , 
and of his being saved by the intercession of the 
trader's wife, and the Indian's desire to save the life 
of his captive negro woman. " It is now," said Colonel 
Brown, "nearly twenty-five years, and yet during all 
that time you have had the negro woman and her 
children as your slaves, and, they have worked for you ; 
and yet you got them by the murder of my father and 
brothers ? You made me an orphan and a beggar, 
when, but for you, I had begun the world with the 
smiles of a father, and the comfort of a home provided 
by his care. For this wrong, this crime, Cutty-a-toy, 
you deserve to die !" 

Here Cutty-a-toy hung his head, and said, " It is all 
true: do with me as you please." 

The soldiers who stood around, many of them the 
neighbors of Colonel Brown, said, " Kill him ! he ought 
to die." But Colonel Brown was now a Christian, and 
had long, long ceased to cherish feelings of revenge 
against the savage murderer of his father. 

"No, no, Cutty-a-toy," proceeded Colonel Brown ; 
" although you deserve to die, and at my hands, yet I 
will not kill you. If I did not worship the Great Spirit 
who rules all things, I would slay you; but vengeance 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 161 

is His, and I will leave you to answer to him for jour 
crimes ! But I will not stain my hands with your 
blood ; you are now old, and must soon go down to the 
grave, and answer to that Great Spirit for the life 
you have led. Live and repent." 

Here Cutty-a-toy assumed a bolder front, and said, 
by certain treaties made in 1794, this property was 
guaranteed to him, and that he would sue Brown in 
the Federal Courts, as some other Indians named by 
him had done, in similar cases ; but he finally agreed, 
if Brown would give him a young negro fellow, he 
might take the rest, including the two women and 
some children, which was generously done. 

Thus the fortunes of war, controlled by the steady 
perseverance of her son, at length restored to Mrs. 
Brown a part of her long-lost property. Many years 
afterwards, when General Jackson became President, 
Colonel Brown finally obtained an allowance from 
Congress for a part of the property lost by his father 
in 1788. In 1810, Colonel Brown became a member 
of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and in 1832, 
a regularly ordained minister of the church. 

Having lived to the advanced age of ninety, and 
never having re-married, but always making her homo 
with her son, Colonel Joseph Brown, Mrs. Brown 
left this world of vexation and sorrow, for such it was 
to her, at her son's residence, in Maury county, Ten- 
nessee. Hers was a most eventful life, full of trials, 
almost beyond human endurance; yet he did not 
11 



12 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE V.'EST. 

murmur, but tried to see, in all her afflictions, tli-2 
kind guidance of a wise Providence. 

George, soon after his release from captivity, emi- 
grated to the south, and, after nearly fifty years 
honorable citizenship, near Woodville, Mississippi, 
died in the bosom of his family. 

The captive daughter, Jane, "whose release was 
due to the manly courage of her youthful brother, 
wus married to a Mr. Collingsworth, and became with 
him, as early as 1819, a citizen of Texas, where her 
descendants yet reside. 

The history of the events connected with the family 
of Mrs. Brown possesses all the attractions of a ro- 
mance ; yet it is but a plain, sad story of trials and suf- 
ferings incident to the period and the border in which 
she passed her life. She lived to an octogenarian age 
and yet she often wept, as she told the tale of he 
captivity and sufferings, and those of her children. 

The only survivor of that pioneer family is the Rev. 
Joseph Brown, of Maury county, Tennessee, better 
known as Colonel Brown. From notes and memo- 
randa furnished by him, the principal details of this 
narrative have been written. They cannot fail to be 
useful to the future historian of Tennessee, yet Hey- 
wood, in his history of 500 pages, only contains the 
following allusion to the facts contained in this narra- 
tive. Speaking of the treaty of peace made at Tellico, 
October 20th, 1795, between the people of Tennessee, 
the Creeks and Cherokees, they, (the Creeks,) says 



CAPTIVITY OF JANE BROWN AND HER FAMILY. 163 

the historian, " at this time delivered up Brown, son 
of Mrs. Brown, formerly a prisoner in the Creek na- 
tion." p. 466. Yet how inadequate is such a notice 
to do justice either to the sufferings of Mrs. Brown 
and her children, or to the generous protection of the 
Creek chieftain, to whom they were indebted for their 
deliverance ! For notwithstanding, says another 
writer, the " obloquy which both history and tradition 
have thrown upon the characters of the Creek and 
Cherokee warriors, some bright gleams occasionally 
break through, which throw a melancholy lustre over 
their memories." But a large portion of the pioneer 
history of Tennessee has never been written. Replete 
with incidents and heroic deeds which might challenge 
the admiration of the world, yet all that has been 
written by Heywood and others would scarcely answer 
as a thread to guide the future historian through tha 
labyrinth of events which crowded upon the infant 
colonies of the Cumberland and the Holston. 



HEROISM OF WOMEN AT BRYANT'S 
STATION. 

I\' the summer of 1782, the Indians of Ohio re- 
solved to make a grand effort to drive the whites from 
Kentucky. An army of six hundred men, under the 
command of the renegade whites, Simon Girty and 
M'Kce, was collected at Chillicothe, and early in Au- 
gust they commenced their march. With a secrecy 
and celerity peculiar to themselves, they advanced 
through the woods without giving the slightest indica- 
tions of their approach ; and on the night of the 14th 
of August, they appeared before Bryant's station, as 
suddenly as if they had risen from the earth, and sur- 
rounding it on all sides, calmly awaited the approach 
of daylight, holding themselves in readiness to rush in 
upon the inhabitants the moment that the gates were 
opened in the morning. The supreme influence of 
fortune in war, was never more strikingly displayed. 

The garrison had determined to march at daylight 
on the following, morning to the assistance of Hoy's 
station, from which a messenger had arrived the 
evening before, with the intelligence of Holder's defeat. 



HEROISM OF WOMEN AT BRYANT'S STATION. 135 

Had the Indians arrived only a few hours later, they 
would have found the fort occupied only by old men, 
women and children, who could not have resisted their 
attack for a moment. As it was, they found the garrison 
assembled and under arms, most of them busily en- 
gaged throughout the whole night, in preparing for 
an early march on the following morning. The In- 
dians could distinctly hear the bustle of preparation, 
and see lights glancing from block-houses and cabins 
during the night, which must have led them to suspect 
that their approach had been discovered. All con 
tinued tranquil during the night, and Girty silently 
concerted the plan of attack. 

The fort, consisting of about forty cabins pla'ced in 
parallel lines, stands upon a gentle rise on the south- 
ern bank of the Elkhorn, a few paces to the right of 
the road from Maysville to Lexington. The garrison 
was supplied with water from a spring at some distance 
from the fort on its north-western side ; a great error, 
common to most of the stations, which, in a close and 
continued siege, must have suffered dreadfully for 
want of water. 

The great body of Indians placed themselves in am- 
bush within half rifle-shot of the spring, while one 
hundred select men were placed near the spot where 
the road now runs after passing the creek, with orders 
to open a brisk fire and show themselves to the gar 
rison on that side, for the purpose of driving them out, 
while the main body held themselves in readiness to 



166 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

rush upon the opposite gate of the fort, hew it dovrn 
with their tomahawks, and force' their way into the 
midst of the cabins. At dawn of day, the garrison 
paraded under arms, and were preparing to open their 
gates and march off as already mentioned, when they 
were alarmed by a furious discharge of rifles, accom- 
panied with yells and screams, which struck terror to 
the hearts of the women and children, and startled 
even the men. 

All ran hastily to the picketing, and beheld a small 
party of Indians, exposed to open view, firing, yelling, 
and making the most furious gestures. The appearance 
was so singular, and so different from their usual man- 
ner of fighting, that some of the more wary and ex- 
perienced of the garrison instantly pronounced it a 
decoy party, and restrained the young men from 
sallying out and attacking them, as some of them were* 
strongly disposed to do. The opposite side of the fort 
was instantly manned, and several breaches in the 
picketing rapidly repaired. Their greatest distress 
arose from the prospect of suffering for water. The 
more experienced of the garrison felt satisfied that 
a powerful party was in ambuscade near the spring, 
but at the same time they supposed that the Indiana 
would not unmask themselves, until the firing upon 
the opposite side of the fort was returned with such 
warmth, as to induce the belief that the feint had 
succeeded. 

Acting upon this impression, and yielding to the 



HEROISM OF AVOMEN AT BRYANT'S STATION. 1G7 

urgent necessity of the case, they summoned all the 
women, without exception, and explaining to them the 
circumstances in which they were placed, and the 
improbability that any injury would be offered them, 
until the firing had been returned from the opposite 
side of the fort, they urged them to go in a body to 
the spring, and each to bring up a bucket full of Avater 
Some of the ladies, as was natural, had no relish for 
the undertaking, and asked why the men could not 
bring water as well 'as themselves ? observing that they 
were not bullet-proof, and that the Indians made no 
distinction betAveen male and female scalps ! 

To this it was answered, that women were in the 
habit of bringing water every morning to the fort, and 
that if the Indians saw them engaged as usual, it 
would induce them to believe that their ambuscade Avas 
undiscovered, and that they would not unmask them- 
selves for the sake of firing at a few Avomen, when they 
hoped, by remaining concealed a few moments longer, 
to obtain complete possession of the fort. That if 
men should go doAvn to the spring, the Indians would 
immediately suspect that something was wrong, would 
despair of succeeding by ambuscade, and Avould in- 
stantly rush upon them, follow them into the fort, or 
shoot them down at the spring. The decision was soon 
over. 

A few of the boldest declared their readiness to brave 
the. danger, and the younger and more timid rallying 
in the rear of these veterans, they all marched doAvn 



168 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

in a body to the spring, within point blank shot of 
more than five hundred Indian warriors ! Some of 
the girls could not help betraying symptoms of terror, 
but the married women, in general, moved with a 
steadiness and composure, which completely deceived 
the Indians. Not a shot was fired. The party were 
permitted to fill their buckets, one after another, with- 
out interruption, and although their steps became 
quicker and quicker, on their return, and when near 
the gate of the fort, degenerated into a rather un-mi- 
litary celerity, attended with some little crowding in 
passing the gate, yet not more than one-fifth of the 
water was spilled, and the eyes of the youngest had 
not dilated to more than double their ordinary size. 

The various attacks upon the fort proving unsuc- 
cessful, the Indian army at length retreated. Unfor- 
tunately, the whites followed them, Avith insufficient 
forces and reckless hardihood. The disastrous battle 
of the Blue Licks ensued. The whites were completely 
defeated, and the Indians returned home with a large 
number of scalpa, 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF 
CHICAGO. 

THE massacre of Chicago was one of the most ter- 
rible of the events which occurred in the early part 
of the war of 1812. A fort had been erected upon 
the site of the present city of Chicago, as early as 
1803. Around the fort several families had clustered, 
built cabins, and began to cultivate the ground. 
When the war broke out, the garrison of the fort con- 
sisted of fifty men, commanded by Captain Heald. 
As it was remote from the other American posts, and 
the neighboring country was occupied by the Potta- 
watomie Indians, whose adherence to the United 
States was more than doubtful, the garrison should 
have been withdrawn or strengthened. When it was 
too late, General Hull ordered the evacuation of the 
post. 

On the 7th of August, (1812,) in the afternoon, 
Winnemeg, or Catfish, a friendly Indian of the Potta- 
watomie tribe, arrived at Chicago, and brought dis- 
patches from general Hull, containing the first, and at 

(169) 



170 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE V, K.-T. 



time, the only intelligence, of the declaration of 
Avar. General Hull's letter announced the capture of 
Mackinaw, and directed Ileald " to evacuate the fort 
at Chicago, if practicable, and in that event, to distri- 
bute all of the United States property contained in the 
factory, or agency, among the Indians in the neigh- 
borhood, and repair to Fort Wayne." \Vinnemeg 
having delivered his dispatches to Captain Heald, and, 
as he was acquainted with the purport of the com- 
munication he had brought, urged upon Captain Heald 
the policy of remaining in the fort, being supplied, as 
they were, with ammunition and provisions for a con- 
siderable time. In case, however, Captain Ileald 
thought proper to evacuate the place, he urged upon 
him the propriety of doing so immediately, before the 
Pottawatomies (through whose country they must pass 
and who were as yet ignorant of the object of his mis- 
sion,) could collect a force sufficient to oppose them. 
This advice, though given in great earnestness, was 
not sufficiently regarded by Captain Heald ; who ob- 
served, that he should evacuate the fort, but having 
received orders to distribute the public property among 
the Indians, he did not feel justified in leaving it, until 
he had collected the Pottawatomies in its vicinity, and 
made an equitable distribution among them. Winne- 
meg then suggested the expediency of marching out, 
and leaving every thing standing; "while the Indians," 
said he, " are dividing the spoils, the troops will be 
able to retreat without molestation." This advice w:ia 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO. 171 

also unheeded ; an order for evacuating the for: was 
read next morning on parade. Captain Heald, in is- 
suing it, had neglected to consult his junior officers, 
as it would have been natural for him to do in such an 
emergency, and as he would have done, had there not 
been some coolness between him and Ensign Roman. 
The lieutenant and ensign, after the promulgation of 
this order, waited on Captain Heald to learn his inten- 
tions ; and being apprised, for the first time, of the 
course he intended to pursue, they remonstrated 
against it. " We do not," said they to Captain Heald, 
" believe that our troops can pass in safety through 
the country of the Pottawatomies, to Fort Wayne. 
Although a part of their chiefs were opposed to an 
attack upon us last summer, they were actuated by 
motives of private friendship for some particular indi- 
viduals, and not from a regard to the Americans in/ 
general ; and it can hardly be supposed that, in the 
present excited state of feeling among the Indians, 
those chiefs will be able to influence the whole tribe, 
now thirsting for vengeance. Besides," said they, "our 
march must be slow, on account of the women and 
children. Our force, too, is small. Some of our sol- 
diers are superannuated, and some of them are invalids. 
We think, therefore, as your orders are discretionary, 
that we had better fortify ourselves as strongly as pos- 
sible, and remain where we are. Succor may reach 
us before we shall be attacked from Mackinaw: and, 
in case of such an event, we had better fall ii.to tha 



172 HEROIC WOMEN OF Tlli: WKST. 

hands of the English, than become victims of the 
navnges." Captain IlealJ replied, that his force was 
inadequate to contend with the Indians, and that he 
should be censured were he to continue in garrison, 
when the prospect of a safe retreat to Fort Wayne wag 
so apparent. He therefore deemed it advisable to as- 
semble the Indians, and distribute the public property 
among them, and ask of them an escort thither, with 
the promise of a considerable sum of money to be paid 
on their safe arrival ; adding, that he had perfect con- 
fidence in the friendly professions of the Indians, from 
whom, as well, as from the soldiers, the capture of 
Mackinaw had studiously been concealed. 

From this time forward, the junior officers stood 
aloof from their commander, and, considering his pro- 
ject as little short of madness, conversed as little upon 
the subject as possible. Dissatisfaction, however, soon 
filled the camp ; the soldiers began to murmur, and 
insubordination assumed a threatening aspect. 

The savages, in the meantime, became more and 
more troublesome ; entered the fort occasionally, in 
defiance of the sentinels, and even made their way 
without ceremony into the quarters of its commanding 
officer. On one occasion an Indian, taking up a rifle, 
fired it in the parlor of Captain Ileald. Some were 
of opinion that this was intended as the signal for an 
attack. The old chiefs at this time passed back and 
forth among the assembled groups, apparently agitati-d 
and the squaws seemed much excited, as though some 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO. 173 

terrible calamity was impending. No further mani- 
festations, however, of ill feeling were exhibited, and 
the day passed without bloodshed. So infatuated, at 
this time, was Captain Heald, that he supposed he had 
wrought a favorable impression upon the savages, and 
that the little garrison could now march forth in safety. 

From the 8th to the 12th of August, the hostility 
of the Indians was more and more apparent ; and the 
feelings of the garrison, and of those connected with, 
and dependent upon it for their safety, more and more 
intense. Distrust every where at length prevailed, and 
the want of unanimity among the officers, was appalling. 
Every inmate retired to rest, expecting to be aroused 
by the war-whoop ; and each returning day was re- 
garded by all as another step on the road to massacre. 

The Indians from the adjacent villages 'having at 
length arrived, a council was held on the 12th of Au- 
gust. It was attended, however, only by Captain 
Ileald on the part of the military ; the other officers 
refused to attend, having previously learned that a 
massacre was intended. This fact was communicated 
to Captain Heald ; he insisted, however, on their 
going, and they resolutely persisted in their refusal. 
When Captain Heald left the fort, they repaired to 
the block-house, which overlooked the ground where 
the council was in session, and opening the port-holes, 
pointed their cannon in its direction. This circum- 
stance, and their absence, it is supposed, savxl the 
whites from massacre. 



174 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Captain Ileald informed the Indians in council, that 
he would, next day, distribute among them all the 
goods in the United States factory, together with the 
ammunition and provisions with which the garrison 
was supplied ; and desired of them an escort to Fort 
Wayne, promising them a reward on their arrival 
thither, in addition to the presents they were about to 
receive. The savages assented, with professions of 
friendship, to all he proposed, and promised all he re- 
quired. The council was no sooner dismissed, than 
several, observing the tone of feeling which prevailed, 
and anticipating from it no good to the garrison, waited 
on Captain Heald, in order to open his eyes if possible, 
to their condition. 

The impolicy of furnishing the Indians with arms 
and ammunition, to be used against themselves, struck 
Captain Ileald with so much force, that he resolved, 
without consulting his officers, to destroy all not re- 
quired for immediate use. 

On the next day, (August 13th,) the goods in the 
factory were all distributed among the Indians, who 
had collected near the fort ; and in the evening, the 
ammunition, and also the liquor belonging to the gar- 
rison, were carried, the former into the sally-port and 
thrown into the Well, and the latter through the south 
gate, as silently as possible, to the river bank, where 
the heads of the barrels were knocked in, and their 
contents discharged into the stream. 

The Indians, however, suspecting the gane, ap- 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO. 175 

proached as near as possible, and witnessed the whole 
scene. The spare muskets were broken up, and thrown 
into the well, together vvilh bags of shot, flints, and 
gun-screws, and ether things ; all, however, of but 
little value. 

On the 14th, the despondency of the garrison was 
for a time dispelled by the arrival of Captain Wells, 
and fifteen friendly Miamies. Having heard at Fort 
Wayne of the order to evacuate Chicago, and knowing 
the hostile intentions of the Pottawatomies, he hastened 
thither, in order to save, if possible, the little garrison 
from its doom. He wae the brother of Mrs. Eleald, 
and having been reared from childhood among the 
savages, knew their character ; and some thing whis- 
pered him, "that all was not well." 

This intrepid warrior of the woods, hearing that his 
friends at Chicago were in danger, and chagrined at 
the obstinacy of Captain Heald, who was thus hazard- 
ing their safety, came thither to save his friends or 
participate in their fate. He arrived, however, too laie 
to effect the former but just in time to effect the latter. 
Having, on his arrival, learned the ammunition had 
been destroyed, and the provisions distributed among 
the Indians, he saw no alternative. Preps.rz-.tions were 
therefore made for marc'iirg en the morrow. 

In the afternoon, a second council was held with 
the Indians, at which they expressed their resentment 
at the destruction of the ammunition and liquor, in the 
severest terms. Notwithstanding the precautions which 



176 HEROIC WOMEN OF TIIK WF.?T. 

had been observed, the knocking in of the heads of 
the whiskey barrels had been heard by the Indians, 
and the river next morning tasted, as some of them 
expressed it, "like si'iocg g>"og." Murmurs and 
threats were every where necird ; and nociiir.g, appa- 
rently, was vanting bat an opportunity fer come 
public manifestation of their resentment. 

Arrioag tho chiefs, there were several who partici- 
pated in the general hostility of their tribe, and re- 
tained, at tLe came time, a regard for the few white 
inhabitants of the place. It was impossible, however, 
even lor them to allay the savage feeling of the v, :ir- 
riors, when provocation after provocation had thus 
been given ; and their exertions, therefore, were 
futile. 

Among this class was Black Partridge, a cnief of 
some renown. Soon after the council had aojor.rned, 
this' magnanimous warrior returned to the head-quar- 
ters of Captain Heald, and, taking off a medal he had 
long worn, said, " Father I have come to deliver up 
to you the modal I v:ear. It was given me by your 
countrymen, and I have Icng worn it as a token of 
our friendship. Our young men are resolved to im- 
brue their hands in the blood of the whites. I cannot 
restrain them, and ~'i;l r-:.t wear a token of peace when 
compelled to act as an en; 

Had doubts previously existed, they YTC-IV 
*n end. The devoted garrison continued, howi 
their preparations v ; and, amid the SUITGU.HI- 



MRS. LELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO. 177 

ing gloom, a few gallant spirits still cheered their 
companions with hopes of security. 

The ammunition reserved, twenty-five rounds tc 
each soldier, was now distributed. The baggage wagons 
designed for the sick, the women, and the children, 
containing also a box of cartridges, were now made 
ready, and the whole party, anticipating a fatiguing, 
if riot a disastrous march, on the morrow, retired to 
enjoy a few moments precarious repose. 

The morning of the 15th dawned as usual. The 
sun rose with uncommon splendor, and Lake Michigan 
" was a sheet of burnished gold." Early in the day 
a message was received in the American camp, from 
To-pee-na-bee, a chief of the St. Joseph's band, in- 
forming them that mischief was brewing among the 
Pottawatomies, who had promised them protection. 

About nine o'clock the troops left the fort with 
martial music, and in military array. Captain Wells, 
at the head of the Miamies, led the van., his face black- 
ened after the manner of the Indians. The garrison, 
with loaded arms, followed, and the wagons with the 
baggage, the women and children, the sick, and the 
lame, closed the rear. The Pottawatomies, about five 
hundred in number, who had promised to escort them 
in safety to Fort Wayne, leaving a little space, after- 
wards followed. The party in advance took the beach 
road. They liad no sooner arrived at the sand-hills, 
which separate the prairie from the beach, about a mile 
and a half from the fort, when the Pottawatomies, in 
12 



178 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

stead of continuing in rear of the Americans, left the 
beach anil took" to the prairie. The sand-hills of course 
intervened and presented a barrier between the Fotta- 
vratomies, and the American and Miami line of inarch. 
This divergence had scarcely been effected, when Cap- 
tain Wells, who, with the Miamics, was considerably 
in advance, rode back, and exclaimed : " They are 
about to attack us ; form instantly and charge upon 
them." The word had scarcely been uttered, before 
a volley of musketry from behind the sand-hills was 
poured in upon them. The troops were brought im- 
mediately into a line, and charged upon the bank. 
One man, a veteran of seventy, fell as they ascended. 
The battle at once became general. The Miamies fled 
in the outset ; their chief rode up to the Pottawatomics, 
charged them with duplicity, and brandishing his to- 
mahawk, said, " he would be the first to head a party 
of Americans, and return to punish them for their 
treachery." He then turned his horse and galloped 
off in pursuit of his companions, who were then scour- 
ing across the prairie, and nothing was seen or heard 
of them more.* 

While the battle was raging some incidents oc- 
curred, which displayed the calm courage and com- 
plete presence of mind of Mrs. Helm, the wife of 
Lieutenant Helm. That lady was in the action, where 
death was threatened on every hand. Doctor Voor- 
hies, the surgeon, being badly wounded, approached 

*Bro\va's History of Illinois. 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGC. 179 

Mrs Helm, and said, "Do you think they will take 
our lives? I am badly wounded, but I think not mor- 
tally. Perhaps we can purchase safety by offering a 
large reward. Do you think," continued he, "there 
is any chance?" " Docter Voorhes," replied Mrs. 
Helm, " Let us not waste the few moments which yet 
remain, in idle or ill-founded hopes. Our fate is in- 
evitable. We must soon appear at the bar of God. 
Let us make such preparations as are yet in our 
power." " Oh !" said he, " I cannot die. I am unfit 
to die ! If I had a short time to prepare ! Death ! 
oh, how awful!" 

At this moment, Ensign Roman was fighting at a 
little distance, with a tall and portly Indian ; the former, 
mortally wounded, was nearly down, at i struggling 
desperately upon one knee. Mrs. Helm, pointing her 
finger, and directing the attention of Doctor Voorhes 
thither, observed : " Look," said she, " at that young 
man, he dies like a soldier." 

"Yes," said Doctor Voorhes, "but he has no terrors 
of the future ; he is an unbeliever." 

A young savage immediately raised his tomahawk 
to strike Mrs. Helm. She sprang instantly aside, and 
the blow intended for her head fell upon her shoulder. 
She thereupon seized him around his neck, and while 
exerting all her efforts to get possession of his scalp- 
ing-knife, was seized by another Indian, and dragged 
forcibly from his grasp. 

The latter bore her, struggling and resisting, towards 



180 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the lake. Notwithstanding, however, the rapidity 
with which she was hurried along, she recognised, as 
she passed, the remains of the unfortunate surgeon, 
stretched lifeless on the prairie. 

She .was plunged immediately into the water, and 
held there, notwithstanding her resistance, with a for- 
cible hand. She shortly, however, perceived that the 
intention of her captor was not to drown her, as he 
held her in a position to keep her head above the water. 
Thus reassured, she looked at him attentively, and, in 
spite of his disguise, recognised the " white man's 
friend," Black Partridge. 

When the firing had ceased, her preserver bore her 
from the water and conducted her up the sand-bank. 
It was a beautiful day in August. The heat, however, 
of the sun was oppressive ; and walking through the 
sand, exposed to its burning rays, in her drenched 
condition ; weary, and exhausted by efforts beyond 
her strength ; anxious, beyond measure, to learn the 
fate of her friends, and alarmed for her o A .\n, her 
situation was one of agony. 

The troops having fought with desperation till two- 
thirds of their number were slain, the remainder twenty- 
seven in all, borne down by an overwhelming force, 
and exhausted by efforts hitherto unequalled, at length 
surrendered. They stipulated, however, for their own 
safety and of their remaining women and children. The 
wounded prisoners, however, in the hurry of the mo- 
ment were unfortunately omitted, or rather not par- 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO. 18l 

ticularly maintained, and were therefore regarded by 
the Indians as having been excluded. 

One of the soldiers' wives, having frequently been 
told that prisoners taken by the Indians were sub- 
jected to tortures worse than death, had from th.e first 
expressed a resolution never to be taken ; and when a 
party of savages approached to make her their prisoner, 
she fought with desperation, and though assured of 
kind treatment and protection, refused to surrender, 
and was literally cut in pieces, and her mangled remains 
left on the field. 

After the surrender, one of the baggage wagon, 
containing twelve children, was a'ssailed by a single 
savage, and the whole number were massacred. All, 
without distinction of age or sex, fell at once beneath 
his murderous tomahawk. 

Captain Wells, who had as yet escaped unharmed, 
saw from a distance the whole of this murderous scene, 
and being apprised of the stipulation, and on seeing it 
thus violated, exclaimed aloud, so as to be heard by the 
Pottawatomies around him, whose prisoner he then was ; 
"If this be your game, I will kill too !" and turning 
his horse's head, instantly started for the Pottawatomy 
camp, where the squaws and Indian children had been 
left before the battle began. 

He had no sooner started, than several of the Indiana 
followed in his rear and discharged their rifles at him, 
as he galloped across the prairie. He laid himself flat 
on the neck of his horse, and was apparently out of 



182 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

their reach, when the ball of one of his pursuers took 
effect, killing his horse and wounding him severely. 
lie was again a prisoner as the savages came up, 
AVinnemeg and Wa-han-see, two of their number, and 
both his friends, used all their endeavors in order to 
save him ; they had disengaged him already from his 
horse, and were supporting him along, when Pee-so- 
tum, a Pottawatomy Indian, drawing his scalping-knife, 
stabbed him in the back, and thus inflicted a mortal 
wound. After struggling for a moment, he fell, and 
breathed his last in the arms of his friends, a victim 
for those he had sought to save. 

The battle having ended, and the prisoners being 
secured, the latter were conducted to the Pottawatomy 
camp near the fort. Here the wife of Wau-bee-nee- 
niah, an Illinois chief, perceiving the exhausted con- 
dition of Mrs. Helm, took a kettle, and dipping up 
some -water from the stream, which flowed sluggishly 
by them, threw into it some maple sugar, and stirring 
it up with her hand, gave her to drink. " It was," 
says Mrs. Helm, " the most delicious draught I had 
ever taken, and her kindness of manner, amid so much 
atrocity, touched my heart." Her attention, however, 
was soon directed to other objects. The fort, after the 
troops had marched out, became a scene of plunder. 
The cattle were shot down as they ran at large, and 
lay dead, or were dying around her. 

Most of the wounded- prisoners were butchered. 
The unwounded- remained in the wigwams of their 



MRS. HELM, THE HEROINE OF CHICAGO. 183 

captors. The work of plunder being complete, the 
fort next day was set on fire. Captain and Mrs. 
Heald, after being exposed to many dangers, were 
taken to Detroit, where they were finally exchanged. 
Lieutenant Helm was wounded in the action, and 
made prisoner. He was afterwards taken by some 
friendly Indians to the Au Sable, and thence to St. 
Louis, where he was liberated from captivity through 
the intervention of an Indian trader, named Forsyth. 
Mrs. Helm, who suffered from a severe wound in the 
ankle, was taken to Detroit, where she was exchanged. 
She lived for many years after her thrilling adventures, 
and was a highly respected lady, 



MRS. PURSLET. 

THE instances of women voluntarily encountering 
danger, that men shrink from in the greatest dread, 
are so rare, that every one should be carefully re- 
corded. Mrs. Purley, the heroine of the following 
sketch, was a woman who only needed a wider field 
to become as celebrated as Joan of Arc. She must 
be considered preeminent, even in the west that 
region so fertile in daring spirits, and iron nerves. 

During the war of 1812, a fort was erected about 
twenty miles from Vandalia, to protect the frontier 
settlements from the Indians. Lieutenant Journay 
and twelve men were assigned for its garrison. On 
the 30th of August, 1814, Indians were discovered 
near the fort. The next morning, before dawn, the 
lieutenant sallied out with his whole force. The party 
had not proceeded far, before a large body of Indians 
rose from an ambush, and fired a destructive volley. 
The commander and three of his men were killed, and 
one wounded. Six returned in safety to the fort, 
where Mrs. Pursley had in the meantime remained 
(184) 



MRS. FURSLEY. 185 

alone. One indomitable borderer, named Thomas 
Higgins, lingered outside of the fort to have " one 
more pull at the enemy." His horse had been shot, 
and he had dismounted, thinking the animal had been 
mortally wounded. He discovered his error, but in- 
stead of remounting, and making a rapid retreat, 
sought the shelter of a tree, and resolved to avenge 
the death of his comrades. 

The Indians caught sight of Higgins before he 
could reach a tree sufficiently large to protect his 
body, and were advancing to attack him, when he 
turned and deliberately shot the foremost savage. 
Somewhat concealed by the smoke, the brave ranger 
then re-loaded his rifle, mounted his horse, and was 
about to ride away, when a voice exclaimed, 

" Tom, you won't leave me, will you ?" 

Higgins turned immediately around, and seeing a 
fellow-soldier by the name of Burgess lying on the 
ground, wounded and gasping for breath, replied : "No 
I'll not leave you come along." 

" I can't come," said Burgess ; " my leg is all smashed 
to pieces." 

Higgins dismounted, and taking up his friend, whose 
ankle had been broken, was about to lift him on his 
horse, when the horse taking fright, darted off in an 
instant, ar-d left Higgins and his friend behind. 

"This is too bad," said Higgins; ''but don't fear; 
you hop off on your three legs, and I'll stay behind 
between you and the Indians. an<l kp.pp them off. Get 



186 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

into the tallest grass, and crawl as near the ground as 
possible." Burgess did so, and escaped. 

The smoke, which had hitherto concealed Higgins, 
now cleared away, and he resolved, if possible, to re- 
treat. To follow the track of Burgess was most ex- 
pedient. It would, however, endanger his friend. 

He determined, therefore, to venture boldly forward, 
and, if discovered, to secure his own safety by the ra- 
pidity of his flight. On leaving a small thicket, in 
which he had sought refuge, he discovered a tall, portly 
savage near by, and two others in a direction between 
him and the fort. He paused for a moment, and thought 
if he could seperate and fight them singly, his case 
was not so desperate. 

He then started for a little run of water which was 
near, but found one of his limbs failing him it having 
been struck by a ball in the first encounter, of which, 
till now, he was scarcely conscious. 

The largest Indian pressed close upon him, and 
Higgins turned round two or three times in order to 
fire. The Indian halted and danced about to prevent 
his taking aim. Higgins saw it was unsafe to fire at 
random, and perceiving two others approaching, knew 
he must be overpowered in a moment, unless he could 
dispose of the forward Indian first. He resolved, 
therefore, to halt and receive his fire. The Indian 
raised his rifle ; and Higgins, watching his eye, turned 
suddenly, as his finger pressed the trigger, and received 
the ball in his thigh. 



MRS. PU11SLEY. 187 

Iliggins fell, but rose immediately, and ran. Tha 
foremost Indian, now certain of his prey, loaded again, 
And with the other two, pressed on, They overtook 
him Higgins fell again, and as he rose, the whole 
three fired, and he received all their balls. He now 
fell and rose again ; and the Indians, throwing away 
their guns, advanced upon him with spears and knives. 
As he presented his gun at one or the other, each fell 
back. At last, the largest Indian, supposing Higgins's 
gun to be empty, from his fire having been thus re- 
served, advanced boldly to the charge. Higgins fired, 
and the savage fell. 

He had now four bullets in his body an empty gun 
in his hand two Indians unharmed, as yet, before 
him and a whole tribe but a few yards distant. Any 
other man but Higgins would have despaired. But he 
had no notion of surrendering yet. He had slain the 
most dangerous of the three ; and having but little to 
fear from the others, began to load his rifle. They raised 
a savage whoop, and rushed to the encounter ; keeping 
at a respectful distance when Higgin's rifle was loaded, 
but when they knew it was empty, " they were better 
soldiers." 

A bloody conflict now ensued. The Indians stabbed 
him in several places. Their spears, however, were 
but thin poles, hastily prepared for the occasion, and 
bent whenever they struck a rib or muscle. The wounds 
they made were not, therefore, deep, though numerous, 
as his scars sufficiently testified. 



188 IIKUOIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

At last one of them throw his tomahawk. It struck 
him upon the cheek, passed, through his ear, which it 
severed, laid bare his skull to the back of his head, 
and stretched him upon the prairie. The Indians again 
rushed on ; but Higgins, recovering his self-possession, 
kept them off with his feet and hands. Grasping at 
length one of their spears, the Indian, in attempting 
to pull it from him, raised Higgins up ; who, taking 
up his rifle, smote the nearest savage, and dashed out 
his brains. In duing so, however, his rifle broke 
the barrel only remaining in his hand. 

The other Indian, who had hitherto fought with 
caution, came now manfully into the battle. His cha- 
racter as a warrior was in jeopardy. To have fled from 
a man thus wounded and disarmed, or to have suffered 
his victim to escape, would have tarnished his fame 
for ever. 

Uttering, therefore, a terrific yell, he rushed on, and 
attempted to stab the exhausted ranger ; but the latter 
warded off his blow with one hand, and brandished 
his rifle-barrel with the other. 

The Indian was as yet unharmed, and under ex- 
isting circumstances, by far the most powerful man. 
Higgins's courage, however, was unexhausted. The 
savage, at last, began to retreat from the glare of his 
untamed eye. to the spot where he dropped his 
Higgins knew that if he recovered that, his own 
was desperate; throwing, therefore, his rifle barrel 
. and drawing his hunting-knife, he rushed upon 



MRS. PURSLEY. 189 

his foe. A desperate strife ensued deep gashes were 
inflicted on both sides. Higgins, fatigued, and ex- 
hausted by the loss of blood, was no longer a match 
for the savage. The latter succeeded in throwing his 
adversary from him, and went immediately in pursuit 
of his rifle. Higgins, at the same time, rose and sought 
for the gun of the other Indian. Both, therefore, 
bleeding and out of breath, were in search of arms to 
renew the combat. A party of Indians were in sight. 
The smoke had now cleared, and a party of Indians 
were coming up. Nothing, it seemed, could save the 
gallant ranger. The little garrison had witnessed 
the whole combat. Mrs. Pursley urged, with much 
vehemence, that some of the men should attempt to 
rescue their brave comrade. To the rangers it seemed 
too much like rushing in the face of death. They 
shrank from the task and were deaf to all Mrs. Pur- 
sley's entreaties, as well as taunts. The heroic woman 
was not to be turned from a noble purpose. Finding 
that the men would not stir from the fort, she seized 
a rifle, and declaring that " so fine a fellow as Tom 
Higgins should not be lost for want of help," mounted 
a horse and rode forth to the rescue. The men were 
thereby shamed into action. To be outdone by a 
woman was too great a degradation. They followed 
Mrs. Pursley at full gallop, reached the spot where 
Higgins fainted and fell, before the Indians came up : 
and while the savasre with whom he had been con- 

O 

lending was looking for his rifle, the wounded ranger 



190 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

was raised upon a horse and carried safely into the 
fort. 

Iliggins continued insensible for several days, but 
his life was saved by constant care and attendance. 
To the brave woman who preserved him from death, 
after his own desperate and astonishing efforts had 
ceased to avail him, he was ever profoundly grateful. 
Mrs. Pursley deserved a monument, but it is only of 
late years that justice has been so far awarded to her 
memory as to record her noble deed. 



MART HART. 

THE following narrative is copied from the New 
York Knickerbocker. It was derived from an officer 
of General Wellborn's corps, who was in battle with 
the Creek Indians, as below narrated, and an eye- 
witness of the remarkable events here recorded. The 
whole affords but another proof, that truth is indeed 
often stronger than fiction. 

The Creek war of 1836-37 was a most barbarous 
one, and continued nearly two years. The Creek 
population comprehended in the treaty for emigration 
westward, was about twenty-two thousand souls, about 
two thousand of whom, warriors, broke the treaty, 
and commenced hostilities in May, 1836, by an attack 
on the town of Roanoke, in the night, butchering its 
inhabitants, putting them to flight, and pillaging and 
setting fire to their habitations. The terrors of an 
affrighted population, once exposed to Indian barba- 
rities, can hardly be conceived. Rumor follows quick 
upon the heels of rumor ; yet no story can exceed the 
horrors of Indian warfare, as it is impossible for Ian 

(191) 



1'J'J HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

p;;:_re adequately to depict its realities. It is stated 
of a man in flight with his family from a supposed pur- 
s-iit of Indians in this war, that having got fresh in- 
telligence of alarm by the less hasty flight of others 
who had overtaken him, he took up his boy from be- 
hind his wagon, tossed him in, and ran forward to 
whip up his team, when lo ! at the place of stopping, 
he found that the violence of his action to save his 
son had killed him by breaking his neck ! 

When General .Tessup had reported the Creek war 
at ;in end, and drawn off his troops into Florida, to 
act against the Seininoles, contrary to the remon- 
strances of the inhabitants of the state of Ala- 
bama who assured him that the Indians were not all 
subdued, but that some hundreds were still lurking in 
their hiding-places the war broke out afresh, with 
increased barbarity; and the Governor of Alabama, 
the Hon. Clement C. Clay, was forced to act with 
great vigor in mustering fresh troops for the exigency, 
by enlisting the citizens of the state into the service 
of the United States. General William Wellborn re- 
ceived the command, and acquitted himself with great 
valor and honor, to the end of the war. 

Sometime in the winter of 1836-37, General Well- 
born heard of an encampment of Indians on the banks 
of the Pee river, near its confluence with Pee creek, 
between the forks. With a company of two hundred 
mounted men, he set off in search of the foe. Having 
discovered and reconnoitred their position, from the 



JIARY IIAHT. 193 

west bank of the Pee, without being observed, he left 
one hundred and twenty of his troops on the higher 
grounds, about half a mile from the river, at a point 
by which the Indians must retreat, if dislodged, with 
instructions to cut them off whenever they should be 
driven in upon them. With the remainder, ninety 
men, he descended the river a few miles, and crossed 
on a bridge, below the confluence of the two streams, 
with the view to come round and attack the Indians 
by surprise. Having made his way across Pee creek, 
he found the access greatly impeded by low and wet 
grounds, it being a time of high water, and several 
lagoons, or channels, running from one river to the 
other, and at this time flooded ; canebrakes and pal- 
metto thickets were to be broken through, and various 
obstacles, peculiar to that wild retreat, interposed. 
Nevertheless, the bravery and determination of the 
troops surmounted all impediments, and they arrived 
at last on the bank of a lagoon, on the other side of 
which was the Indian encampment, themselves screened 
from observation by a grove of palmettoes, and by 
favorable grounds. 

At this moment a filing was heard in the direction 
of the place were the one hundred and twenty troops 
had been left, and it was manifest, as none but women 
and children were to be seen on the opposite bank of 
the lagoon, that the Indians had discovered the whites 
on the west side of the Pee, and had themselves be- 
come the assailants. This was the more painful to 
13 



194 IIEKOIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

observe, as the firing grew rapidly more distant, an 
indication that the Indians were victorious and in 
pursuit. 

General Wellborn instantly conceived the project, 
as retreat was impossible, of placing his men in line 
as near the bank of the lagoon as he could, for a des- 
perate onset on the return of the Indians ; and having 
given his orders, he retired to an eminence about a 
quarter of a mile, and showed himself to the women, 
who instantly raised the cry of " Esta-IIadka ! Esta- 
Iladka !" "White man! White man!" pointing 
to General Wellborn, on the distant eminence. This 
alarm was rapidly conveyed by runners to the Indians 
now engaged on the other side of the Pee, and as soon 
as possible, some three hundred warriors or more came 
rushing back, flushed with victory, and full of ven- 
geance. They seemed to know that they had routed 
the largest body of their opponents, and were eager 
to find the remainder. It was a critical moment when 
they stood upon the open ground, within gnn-shot of 
General Wellborn's men, on the other bank of the 
lagoon, demanding of the women where they had seen 
the white man. The Indians knew that the lagoon was 
fordable, but their opponents did not. At the moment 
they were about to rush in, and at a given signal, a 
well-directed fire was pored in upon them from the 
whole line, and they fell back, with a shout of terroi 
ainl discomfiture, into a pine wood, about forty rods 
distant, leaving a number of their dead upon the field. 



MARY HART. 195 

It was evident that the fire told well, but no less 
certain that the foe would soon rally, and return with 
confidence of victory. They knew there was no 'es- 
cape for the white man, and that they had driven 
from the field his strongest force. Violent speeches 
of the chiefs and warriors were heard and understood. 
In about forty minutes, a hideous yell of onset rang 
through the forest, and the entire array of the Indian 
force leaped upon the bank of the lagoon, to cross and 
drive their assailants by closer fight. At that moment 
they received a second time the whole fire of General 
Wellborn's men from behind the palmettoes, halted, 
staggered, and again fell back into the woods, leaving 
the ground strewed with their slain. Again the rally-- 
ing speeches were heard, and General Wellborn saw 
that he and his men must transfer the action to the' 
other bank, or perish before a superior force. Believing 
from the demonstrations of the Indians, that the lagoon, 
was fordable, he ordered two men, at different points, 
to make the attempt, and if they succeeded, the whole 
corps were to plunge in, form upon the opposite bank, 
and rush upon the foe. 

It was but the work of a moment, and every man 
was in line. The conflict was desperate and bloody. 
Women fought and fell with the men. A single white 
man encounted a warrior and two of his wives, all three 
of whom were laid dead at his feet, by a necessity 
which he could not avoid, in self-preservation. The 
Indians fled across a bridge of trees, which they had 



' IDo HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

thrown over the Pec, fighting and falling in their re- 
treat; and all that could were soon out of the battle, 
leaving behind them camp and spoils, the wounded, 
the dying, and the dead. Seventy-three warriors, 
averaging six feet and two inches in height, were 
counted among the slain. 

An old chief, Apothlo-Oholo, who afterward es- 
caped in the night, being entirely disabled by the shot 
he had received in various parts of his body, fell into 
the river, as he was attempting to cross the bridge of 
trees, lie clung to the branches, and buried himself 
entirely under water, while the victors were crossing 
and re-crossing during and after the action. 

He lived to recover of his wounds, joined his party, 
and afterwards made the following speech to General 
Wellborn, at Conchatto-Mecco's Town, when about to 
emigrate with his people : 

"You are a Great Chief. I have fought you as 
long as I could. You have beaten me. You have 
killed and taken nearly all my people. I am now 
ready to go : the farther from you the better. We 
cannot be friends. I thank you for taking care of 
my women, children, and wounded warriors, arid for 
sending them back to me. You are a Great Chief!" 

In the sleeve of the coat of Apothlo-Oholo, after 
the battle, were found twenty -eight hundred dollars 
in gold ; and many spoils that had been taken from 
murdered white families, or pillaged from their dc- 
bertea homes, were recovered. A roll of bank note.? 



MARY HART. 197 

was also found. Most of the Indian ponies were left 
behind, and the whole of the next day was consumed 
in making arrangements for a vigorous pursuit of the 
routed Indians. Nine of the ninety engaged in this 
attack were killed. The bodies of the Indians, were" 
left without burial. The exasperated troops, them- 
selves citizens of a commonwealth doomed to the hor- 
rible atrocities of an Indian war, with their families 
exposed, many of whom had already suffered, must 
stand as an apology for not paying to a fallen enemy 
the usual respect of civilized warfare.' It was a scene 
of carnage, left to the face of the sun, and to the eyes 
of the stars. 

On the morning of the third day, a pursuit of the 
retreating foe was ordered, the trail of which led 
them down the Pee, to the plantation of two brothers, 
Josiah and Robert Hart, about forty miles below the 
battle-ground. As they approached these settlements, 
it needed no prophet's ken to anticipate the fate of 
these unhappy families. The Indians, still counting less 
than two hundred warriors, came upon them the second 
night. 

Josiah Hart had a wife, a son, and two daughters, 
the youngest of whom, Mary, was nine years of age. 
The family of Robert Hart, living abort a mile froin 
his brother, consisted of himself, two sons, a married 
daughter, and son-in-law. The log cabin of Robert, 
as is usual, in that country, was built in two sep-'ira's 
parts with an open space or court between, over which 
17* 



198 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WKHT. 

the roof of the building extended, the door of each 
part being in the middle of this court, opposite to each 
other. Aware of the dangers to which he was exposed, 
Mr. Hart had " Chinked" the logs, before open, and 
admitting of being fired through by the musketry or 
rifles of an enemy, leaving here and there a port-hole, 
through which the tenants might be able to repulse 
assailants. He was also provided with nine pieces of 
fire-arms, rifles, double-barrel and others, kept con- 
stantly charged, and ready for a sudden emergency. 
In one of these buildings, the whole family slept by 
their arms and ammunition, while the watch dog kept 
his post without. 

At the mid-hour of this fatal night, they were sud- 
denly awakened by the earnest barking of the dog, 
and the simultaneous yells of the Indians. The dog 
was soon silenced by the rifles of the savages ; and tho 
subsequent stillness without, except when interrupted 
by the occasional light tread or sudden bound of the 
wily foe around the house, reconnoitring, in prepara- 
tion for the execution of his purpose, was fearful 
Having failed in their usual stratagem of driving out 
the tenants of the house in affright, by the yells of the 
onset, in an opposite direction, where they would be 
%ure to fall into the hands of a party in ambush, they 
sought opportunity to make an attack through the 
crevices of the logs which composed the walls of the 
building. Not succeeding in this, for the reason before 
mentioned, and not venturing yet to cuter the court, 



MARY HART. 199 

ror fear of a fire from within, which had not yet opened 
upon them, their next device was, to kindle a fire undei 
the side of the dwelling, by which, if successful, they 
were sure of their prey. This, however, they could 
not well do in the dark, without becoming marks for 
an unseen hand. Accordingly, the first attempt proved 
fatal to those engaged in it, and two or three Indians 
fell before the sure aim of the rifle from within the 
walls. Hour after hour, in painful suspense passed 
away, with now and then a shot from either party, to 
little or to no purpose, except that a chance ball from 
an Indian rifle found its way between the logs, and 
wounded Mr. Hart's daughter in the arm. Not daring 
to strike a light, they endeavored as well as they could, 
to bind it up, and to staunch the blood. At length a 
lurid light cast upon the clouds, discovered to Mr. Hart 
his brother's house in flames, and a yell of triumph 
broke from the horde of savages by whom he and his 
children were environed, secure, though less successful 
hitherto, in accomplishing the same object. The flames 
rose higher, and threw upon his besieged habitation a 
flood of light, that compelled the besiegers to retire 
behind the out-houses for protection, as they wculd 
otherwise be exposed to the fire of Mr. Hart and his 
sons. 4. 

Day dawned at last, and a desultory fire was com- 
menced, as chance invited, and as an Indian head wan 
exposed to view. Several of the Indians fell. Exas- 
perated by these failures, they resolved to set the house 



HOC HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WE?!. 

on fire at any hazard. They collected combustibles, 
chose their position, and rushed with fire and kindling- 
wood under the stick chimney of the house, whore, as 
it happened the rifles from within could not he brought 
to bear. The smoke was soon felt in the house, and 
not a moment was to be lost. Despair finds weapons ; 
and by the concert of an instant, a bold device was 
projected, to strike the frail chimney-back on the heads 
of the Indians, and by a sudden sortie, drive them 
from the field, to purchase to themselves an opportu- 
nity of escape to the fort, about seven miles distant. 
It was done. Three or four Indians were killed, and 
the rest fled. In some two hours after, Mr. Hart and 
his children were all safely lodged in the fort, hav- 
ing left their house to pillage and flames, to which it 
was doomed in the course of the morning, so soon as 
the Indians had mustered a stronger force, and re- 
turned to renew the attack. Plunder was all they 
had to enjoy. 

About thirty-six hours after the Indians had quitted 
the plantation of the Harts, which they had left a 
scene of ruin and of carnage, and descended the river, 
little dreaming of being pursued by the party whose 
Dower they had felt two days before, General Wellborn 
i^nd his men came in sight of the smoking ruins of 
Josiah Hart's habitation and out-houses. Not a living 
creature moved before their eyes, and every aspect 
was that of desolation. From a party in advance, so 
soon as they approached the ruins, a cry of horror 



MARY HA11T. 201 

and vengeance arose, which broke the awful silence 
of the place; and each one, as he came near, WWIH 
petrified at the spectacle which was presented. 

In the yard, a few rods from the house, lay the 
mangled and naked bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Hart, 
their son and eldest daughter ; and a little removed 
from them, the body of Mary, also naked, with her 
skull broken in apparently by a pine-knot, which lay 
by her side, covered with hair and blood. She was 
lying upon her side, her person stabbed in several 
places, from head to foot ; and the blood of each 
wound extending in unbroken coagulation to the 
ground, which had drunk the crimson streams. The 
sight of Mary was not so fearful as that of the rest of 
family, though sufficiently shocking. It was evident, 
that she had never struggled or moved, from the mo- 
ment she was left in that position, thirty-six hours 
before. With the exception of her wounds, her 
appearance was that of an innocent, marble repose. 

The mutilated and mangled condition of the other 
members of the family was too horrible to be recorded. 
Mr. Hart had been pierced with many balls ; Mrs. 
Hart with less ; each had been shot, and all were 
covered and disfigured with ghastly wounds. The 
spectacle filled the men with absolute madness. They 
raved, stamped, ran to and fro, struck the trees and 
stones with their clenched hands, until the blood fol- 
lowed from their blows, without seeming to feel the 
wounds they had inflicted on themselves ; and they 



202 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

cried, "Vengeance! vengeance! vengeance!" til 
all the region rang with it, and loud enough to awake 
the sleeping dead. 

And it did awake the dead ! Surrounded at this 
moment by a throng of these exasperated beholders, 
who were looking upon her innocent countenance, and 
raising those fearful cries, but not having yet pre- 
sumed to touch this relic of mortality, little Mary 
Hart opened her eyes, turned up her face, arid said, 
audibly and distinctly, " How they did beat us !" and 
then closed her eyes, and turned back, clasped again 
in the same silent and death-like repose! 

The moment was awful, and the feeling of the spec- 
tators entirely changed. The innocent victim was 
carefully approached, tenderly lifted up, her wounds 
bathed, and the proper surgical applications applied. 
On examination, it was found that life was not ex- 
tinct ; but she was so literally drained of her blood, 
that no symptom of reviving animation could be 
awakened. She was wrapped in a blanket, and, care- 
fully carried on horseback, in the arms of General 
Wellborn, to the fort, with little more sign of life than 
when first taken from the ground, and was committed 
to the charge of her uncle and his family, whose 
escape has already been narrated. 

The troops started off in hot pursuit of the flying 
foe, and after two days' march, overtook them in 
Florida. Thirty-nine of them were slain in the en- 
gagement that ensued ; many prisoners were taken, 



MARY HART. 203 

with the booty from the pillaged houses of the Harts ; 
and the rest took flight to the town of Canchatto- 
Mecco, were they surrendered for emigration, and the 
Creek war was ended. 

Mary Hart, by means of tender nursing, and the 
restoring powers of nature, gradually recovered. The 
indenture in the skull proved not to be a fracture, 
and she is now as well as if the massacre had never 
happened. 



A YOUNG HEROINE. 

IN September, 1840, a small party of Indians ap- 
peared in Washington county, Florida, and killed the 
wife of Mr. Wiley Jones, and two of his children. This 
gave occasion to a remarkable display of heroism in a 
very young girl. The affair is narrated as follows in 
the Tallahassee Floridian. 

Mr. Jones, on returning from one of his fields, about 
ten o'clock in the morning, and when within two Hun- 
dred yards of the house, heard four or five rifles tired 
;n his yard, he ran for the house, and on rising the 
hill, found the house surrounded by Indians, and 
eight or ten in the piazza. The Indians discovered 
him at that moment, and pursued him, firing and 
whooping at him like devils. Being entirely unarmed, 
Trithout even a knife to defend himself, he fled, and 
escaped in the hammock. 

Mr. Jones's daughter, a girl of abo,ut thirteen years 

of age, states that her mother, a negro woman, and 

four children were in the house when the Indians were 

discovered in the yard. Mrs. Jones caught up thft 

(204) 



A YOUXG HEROINE. 205 

youngest child, and was shot in attempting to escape 
out of the door, struck by three balls, one passing 
through the head of the child in her arms. 

The daughter above mentioned took the two children, 
and, while the Indians were ransacking and plunder- 
ing the house, passed out unmolested, and hid them 
in the bushes. The little heroine then returned to 
the house, in the midst of the Indians, helped her 
mother up, who was lying in the porch, and assisted 
her about three hundred yards into the field, when 
becoming faint from the loss of blood, the little girl 

O / O 

left her in search of water. She returned with it, but 
her mother, after drinking, died in a few moments. 
She then covered her mother and the dead infant with 
bushes, and carried the remaining children to the 
nearest neighbor. The Indians destroyed all the 
furniture and stole about three hundred lollars. 



MRS. DAYIESS. 

I)AVIESS is a name written boldly in the heroic annalg 
Df the west. Noble men and women chiefly the 
children of Kentucky have contributed brave and 
generous deeds to render it brilliant and undying. The 
Mrs. Daviess, whose heroic acts we are now about to 
record, was a glorious example to her sex. Firm, cool, 
and fertile of resource in the hour of peril, and gentle 
and amiable by the peaceful fireside. 

In the fall of the year 177D, Samuel Daviess, who 
resided in Bedford county, Virginia, moved with hia 
family to Kentucky, and lived for a time, at Whitley'a 
station, in Lincoln. After residing for some time in 
the station, he removed with his family to a place called 
Giltner's Lick, some six or seven miles distant from 
said station, where he built a cabin, cleared some land, 
which he put in corn next season, not apprehending 
any danger from the Indians, although he was con- 
sidered a frontier settler. But this imaginary state of 
security did not last long; for on a morning in the 
month of August, in the year 1782, having stepped a 
(20G) 



MRS. DAVIESS. 207 

few paces from his door, he was suddenly surprised by 
an Indian's appearing between him^and the door, with 
tomahawk uplifted, almost within striking distance. 
In this unexpected condition, and being entirely un- 
armed, his first thought was, that by running round 
the house, he could enter the door in safety, but to his 
surprise, in attempting to effect this object, as he ap- 
proached the door he found the house full of Indians. 
Being closely pursued by the Indian first mentioned, 
he made his way into the cornfield, where he concealed 
himself, with much difficulty, until the pursuing Indian 
had returned to the house. 

Unable as he was to render any relief to his family 
(there being five Indians,) he ran with the utmost speed 
to the station of his brother James Daviess a distance 
of five miles. As he approached the station his un- 
dressed condition told the tale of his distresses, before 
he was able to tell it himself. Almost breathless, and 
with a faltering voice, he could only say, his wife and 
children were in the hands of the Indians. Scarcely 
was the communication made when he obtained a spare 
gun, and the five men in the station, well armed, fol- 
lowed him to his residence. When they arrived at his 
house, the Indians, as well as the family, were found 
to be gone, and no evidence appeared that any of the 
family had been killed. A search was made to find 
the direction the Indians had taken , but owing to the 
dryness of the ground, and tne adroit manner in which 
they had departed, no discovery could be made ! In 



208 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

this state of perplexity, the party heing all good woods- 
men, took that direction in pursuit of the Indians, 
which they thought it most probable, they would take. 
After going a few miles, their attention was arrested 
by the howling of a dog, which afterwards turned out 
to be a house-dog that had followed the family, and 
which the Indians had undertaken to kill, so as to 
avoid detection, which might happen from his occa- 
sionally barking. In attempting to kill the dog, he 
was only wounded, which produced the howling that 
was heard, and satisfied them that they were near the 
Indians, and enabled them to rush forward with the ut- 
most impetuosity. Two of the Indians being in the 
rear as spies, discovering the approach of the party, 
ran forward to where the Indians were with the family 
one of them knocked doAvn the oldest boy, about eleven 
years old, and while in the act of scalping him, was 
fired at, but without effect. Mrs. Davies, seeing the 
agitation and alarm of the Indians, saved herself and 
sucking child, by jumping into a sink hole. The In- 
dians did not stand to make fight, but fled in the most 
precipitate manner. In that way the family was res- 
cued by nine o'clock in the morning, without the loss 
of a single life, and Avithout any injury but that above 
mentioned. Soon as the boy had risen on his i 
the first word he spoke was, " Curse that Indian he 
has got my scalp." After the family had been rescued, 
Mrs. Daviess gave the following account of the manner 
in which the Indians had acted. 



MRS. DAVIES. 209 

A few minutes after her husband had opened the 
door and stepped out of the house, four -Indians rushed 
in, whilst the fifth, as she afterwards learned, was in 
pursuit of her husband. Herself and children were in 
bed when the Indians entered the house. One of the 
Indians immediately made signs, by which she under- 
derstood him to inquire how far it was to the next 
huuse. With an unusual presence of mind, knowing 
how important it would be to make the distance as far 
as possible, she raised both her hands, first counting 
the fingers of one hand, then the other making a 
distance of eight miles. The Indian then signed tc 
her that she must rise ; she immediately got up, and 
as soon as she could dress herself, commenced showing 
the Indians one article of clothing after another, which 
pleased them very much ; and in that way, delayed 
them at the house nearly two hours. In the mean time, 
the Indian who had been in pursuit of her husband, 
returned with his hands stained with poke berries, which 
he held up, and with some violent gestures, and waving 
of his tomahawk, attempted to induce the belief, that 
the stain on his hands was the blood of her husband, 
and that he had killed him. She was enabled at once 
to discover the deception, and instead of producing any 
alarm on her part, she was satisfied that her husband 
had escaped uninjured. 

After the savages had plundered the house of every 
thing that they could conveniently carry offAvith them, 
they started, taking Mrs. Daviess and her children 
14 



210 HEROIC WOMEN 07 THE WEST. 

seven in number, as prisoners along with them. Some 
of the children were too young to travel as fast as- the 
Indians wished, and discovering, as she believed, their 
intention to kill such of them as could not conveniently 
travel, she made the two oldest boys carry them on 
their backs. The Indians, in starting from the house, 
were very careful to leave no signs of the direction 
which they had taken, not even permitting the children 
to break a twig or weed, as they passed along. They 
had not gone far, before an Indian drew a knife and 
cut off a few inches of Mrs. Daviess's dress, so that 
she would not be interrupted in travelling. 

Mrs. Daviess was a woman of cool, deliberate courage, 
and accustomed to handle the gun so that she could 
shoot well, as many of the women were in the habit 
of doing in those days. She had contemplated, as a 
last resort, that if not rescued in the course of the 
day, when night came and the Indians had fallen asleep, 
she would rescue herself and children by killing as 
many of the Indians as she could thinking in a night 
attack as many of them as remained, would most pro- 
bably run off. Such an attempt would now seem a 
species of madness ; but to those who were acquainted 
with Mrs. Daviess, little doubt was entertained, that if 
the attempt had been made, it would have proved 
successful. 

The boy who had been scalped, was greatly disfigured, 
as the hair never after grew upon that part of his head. 
He often wished for an opportunity to avenge himself 



MRS. DAVIESS. 211 

upon the Indians for the injury he received. Unfor- 
tunately for himself, ten years afterwards, the Indians 
came to the neighborhood of his father and stole a 
number of horses. Himself and a party of men went 
in pursuit of them, and after following them for some 
days, the Indians finding that they were likely to be 
overtaken, placed themselves in ambush, and when 
their pursuers came up, killed young Daviess and one 
other man ; so that he untimely fell into their hands 
when about twenty-one years old. The next year 
after the father died ; his death being caused, as it 
was supposed, by the extraordinary efforts he made 
to release his family from the Indians. We cannot 
close this account, without noticing an act of courage 
displayed by Mrs. Daviess, calculated to exhibit her 
character in its true point of view. 

Kentucky, in its early days, like most new countries, 
was occasionally troubled with men of abandoned cha- 
racter, who lived by stealing the property of others, 
and after committing their depredations, retired to their 
hiding places, thereby eluding the operation of the law. 
One of these marauders, a man of desperate character, 
\sho had committed extensive thefts from Mr. Daviess, 
as well as from his neighbors, was pursued by Daviess 
and a party whose property he had taken, in order to 
bring him to justice. While the party were in pursuit, 
the suspected individual, not knowing any one was pur- 
suing him, came to the house of Daviess, armed with 
his gun and tomahawk no person being at home but 



212 ITEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Mrs. Daviess and her children. After he had stepped 
into the house, Mrs. Daviess asked him if he would 
drink something and having set a bottle of whiskey 
upon the table, requested him to help himself. The fel- 
low not suspecting any danger, set his gun by the door, 
arid, while he was drinking, Mrs. Daviess picked up 
his gun, and placed herself in the door, had the gun 
cocked and levelled upon him by the time he turned 
around, and in a peremptory manner ordered him to 
take a seat, or she would shoot him. Struck with 
terror and alarm, he asked what he had done. She 
told him, he had stolen her husband's property, and 
that she intended to take care of him herself. In that 
condition, she held him a prisoner, until the party of 
men returned and took him into their possession. 

Such deeds procured for Mrs. Daviess a high repu- 
tation for courage and determination, among the bold 
spirits of the frontier, although they were accustomed 
to expect such qualities in the men and women of that 
region. All deemed her an extraordinary woman ; 
and when wives and daughters displayed timidity at 
approaching danger, they were stimulated to daring 
efforts by being reminded of what Mrs. Daviess had 
performed. 



MAET CHASE. 

RUXTON, in his inimitable " Life in the Far West, 
gives a thrilling account of an attack upon a family 
named Chase, who were crossing the prairies. He 
has changed the name to Brand, but the incidents are 
narrated as they actually happened. The courage and 
devotion of Mary Chase, the Mary Brand of the story, 
cannot be too much extolled. The narrative is as 
follows : 

One fine sunny evening in April of 1847, when the 
cotton woods on the banks of the Arkansas began to 
put forth their buds, and robins and blue-birds har- 
bingers of spring were hopping, with gaudy plumage, 
through the thickets, three white-tilted Conostoga 
wagons emerged from the timbered bo'ttom of the river, 
and rumbled slowly over the prairie, in the direction 
of the Platte's waters. Each wagon was drawn by 
eight oxen, and contained a portion of the farming im- 
plements and household utensils of the Brand family. 
The teams were driven by the young boys, the men 
fallowing in rear with shouldered riiles old Brand 

(218) 



214 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

himself mounted on an Indian horse, leading the ad- 
vance. The women were safely housed under the wagon 
tilts, and out of the first the mild face of Mary Brand 
smiled adieu to many of her old companions, who had 
accompanied them thus far, and now wished them 
" God-speed" on their long journey. Some moun/- 
taineers galloped up, dressed in buckskin, and gave 
them rough greeting warning the men to keep their 
"eyes skinned," and look out for the Araphos, who 
were out on the waters of the Platte. Presently all 
retired, and then the huge wagons and the little com- 
pany were rolling on their solitary way through the 
deserted prairies passing the first of the many thou- 
sand miles which lay between them and the " setting 
sun," as the Indians style the distant regions of the 
Far West. And on, without casting a look behind 
him, doggedly and boldly marched old Brand, followed 
by his sturdy family. 

They made but a few miles that evening, for the 
first day the start is all that is effected ; and nearly 
the whole morning is taken up in getting fairly under 
weigh. The loose stock had been sent off earlier; for 
they had been collected and corralled the previous 
night ; and, after a twelve hours' fast, it was neces-;n y 
they should reach the end of the day's journey betimes, 
They found the herd grazing in the bottom of the Ar- 
kansas, at a point previously fixed upon for their first 
camp. Here the oxen were unyoked, and the wagona 
drawn up s<; as to form the three sides of a small square. 



MARY CHASE. 215 

The women descended from -their seats, and prepared 
the evening meal. A huge fire was kindled before the 
wagons, and round this the whole party collected ; 
while larg;e kettles of coffee boiled on it, and hoe-cakes 
baked upon the embers. 

The women were sadly down-hearted, as well they 
might be, with the dreary prospect before them ; and 
poor Mary, when she saw the Mormon encampment 
shut out from her sight by the rolling bluffs, and no- 
thing before her but the bleak, barren prairie, could 
not divest herself of the idea that she had looked for 
the last time on civilized fellow-creatures, and fairly 
burst into' tears. 

In the morning the heavy wagons rolled on again 
across the upland prairies, to strike the trail used by 
the traders in passing from the south fork of the Platte 
to the Arkansas. They had for guide a Canadian 
voyageur, who had been in the service of the Indian 
traders, and knew the route well, and had agreed to 
pilot them to Fort Lancaster on the north fork of the 
Platte. Their course led for about thirty miles up the 
Boiling Spring River, whence they pursued a north- 
easterly course to the dividing ridge wbich separates 
the waters of the Platte and Arkansas. Their progress 
was slow, for the ground was saturated with wet, and 
exceedingly heavy for the cattle, and they scarcely 
advanced more than ten miles a day. 

At the camp fire at night, Antoine, the Canadian 
guide amused them with tales of the wild life and peri- 



216 HEROIC WOMEN 07 THE WEST. 

lous adventures of the hunters and trappers who make 
the mountains their home ; often extorting a scream 
from the women by the description of some scene of 
Indian fight and slaughter, or beguiling them of a 
commiserating tear by the narrative of the sufferings 
and privations endured by those hardy hunters in their 
arduous life. 

Mary listened with the greater interest, since she 
remembered that such was the life which had been led 
by one very dear to her by one, long supposed to be 
dead, of Avhom she had never but once, since his de- 
parture, nearly fifteen years before, heard a syllable. 
Her imagination pictured him as the bravest and most 
daring of these adventurous hunters, and conjured up 
his figure charging through the midst of whooping 
savages, or stretched on the ground perishing from 
wounds, or cold, or famine. 

Among the characters who figured in Antoine'a 
stories, a hunter named La Bonte was made conspi- 
cuous for deeds of hardiness and daring. The first 
mention of the name caused the blood to rush to Mary's 
face : not that she for a moment imagined it was her 
La Bonte, for she knew the name was a common one ; 
but, associated with feelings which she had never got 
the better of, it recalled a sad epoch in her former life, 
to which she could not look back without mingled pain 
and pleasure. 

Once only, and about two years after his departure, 
had . :' ver received tidings of her former lover. A 



MAUY CHASE. 217 

mountaineer had returned from the Far West to settle 
in his native state, and had found his way to the 
neighborhood of old Brand's farm. Meeting him by 
accident, Mary, hearing him speak of the mountain 
hunters, had inquired tremblingly, after La Bonte. 
Her informant knew him well had trapped in com- 
pany with him : and had heard at the trading fort, 
whence he had taken his departure for the settlements, 
that La Bonte had been killed on the Yellow Stone 
by Blackfeet ; which report was confirmed by some 
Indians of that nation. This was all she had ever 
learned of the lover of her youth. 

Now upon hearing the name of La Bonte so often 
mentioned by Antoine, a vague hope was raised in her 
breast that he was still alive, and she took, an oppor- 
tunity of questioning the Canadian closely on the 
subject. 

" Who was this La Bonte, Antoine, who you say 
was so brave a mountaineer?" she asked one day. 

"J'ne sais pas ; he vas un beau gargori, and strong 
comme le diable enfant de garce, mais he pas not 
care a dam for les sauvages, pe gar. He shoot de 
centare avec his carabine ; and ride de cheval comme 
one Comanche. He trap heap castor (what you call 
beevare,) and get plenty dollare mais he open hand 
vare wide and got none too. Den, he hont vid de 
Blackfeet and avec de Cheyenne, and all round de 
montaignes he hont dam sight." 

" But, Antoine, what became of him at last ? and 



-18 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

why did he not come home, when he made so many 
dollars ?" asked poor Mary. 

" Enfant de garce, mais pourquoi he come home ? 
Pe gar, de montaigne-man, he love the montaigne and 
prairie more better dan he love de grandes villes 
meme de Saint Louis ou de Montreal. Wagh ! La 
Bonte, well, he one montaigne-man, wagh ! He love 
de buffaloe and de chevreaux plus que de bceuf and de 
mouton, may be. Mais on-dit dat he have autre 
raison dat de gal he lofe in Missouri not lofe him, and 
for dis he not go back. Mais now he go ondare, 
m' on dit. He vas go to de Californe, may be to steal 
de hos and de mule pe gar, and de Espagnols rub 
him out, and take his hair, so he mort." 

" But are you sure of this ?" she asked, trembling 
with grief. 

" Ah, now, j'ne suis pas sur, mais I tink you know 
dis La Bonte. Enfant de garce, maybe you de gal 
in Missouri he lofe, and not lofe him. Pe gar ! 'fant 
de garce ! fort beau gargon dis La Bonte, pourquoi 
you ne 1'aimez pas ? Maybe he not gone ondar. May- 
be he turn op, autrefois. De trappares, dey go ondar 
tree, four, ten times, mais dey turn op twenty time 
De sauvage not able for kill La Bonte, ni de dam 
Espagnols. Ah, non ! ne craignez pas ; pe gar, he 
not gone ondare encore." 

Spite of the good-natured attempts of the Canadian, 
poor Mary burst into a flood of tears ; not that the 
information took her unawares, for she had long be- 



MARY CHASE. 219 

lieved him dead ; but because the very mention of 
his name awoke the strongest feelings within her breast, 
and taught her how deep was the affection she had felt 
for him whose loss and violent fate she now bewailed. 

As the wagons of the lone caravan roll on towards 
the Platte, we return to the camp where La Bonte, 
Killbuck, and the stranger, were sitting before the 
fire when last we saw them : Killbuck loquitur. 

" The doins of them Mormon fools can't be beat by 
Spaniards, stranger. Their mummums and thummums 
you speak of won't 'shine' whar Injuns are about; 
nor pint out a trail, whar nothin crossed but rattle- 
snakes since fust it snow'd on old Pike's Peak. If 
they pack along them profits, as you tell of, who can 
make it rain hump-ribs and marrow-guts when the 
crowd gets out of the buffler range, they are ' some,' 
now, that's a fact. But this child don't believe it. 
I'd laugh to get a sight of these darned Mormonites, 
I would. They're ' no account,' I guess ; and it's the 
' meanest' kind of action to haul their women critters 
and their young 'uns to sech a starving country as the 
Californys." 

" They are not all Mormons in the crowd," said the 
strange hunter ; " and there's one family among them 
with some smartish boys and girls, I tell you. Their 
name's Brand." 

La Bonte looked up from the lock of his rifle, which 
he was cleaning but either didn't hear, or, hearing, 
didn't heed, for he continued his work. 



220 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

"And they are going to" part company," continued 
the stranger, " and put out alone for Platte and the 
South Pass." 

"They'll lose their hair, I'm thinking,' said Kill" 
buck, " if the Rapahos are out thar." 

"I hope not," continued the other, "for there's a 
girl among them worth more than that." 

"Poor beaver!" said La Bonte, looking up from 
his work. " I'd hate to see any white gal in the hands 
of Injuns, and of Rapahos Averse than all where does 
she come from, stranger?" 

" Down below St. Louis, from Tennessee, I've heard 
them say." 

"Tennessee," cried La Bonte "hurrah for the 
old State ! What's her name, stran " At this mo- 
ment Killbuck's old mule pricked her ears and snuffed 
the air, which action catching La Bonte's eye, he 
rose abruptly, without waiting a reply to his question, 
and exclaimed^ The old mule smells Injuns, or I'm 
a Spaniard !" 

The hunter did the old mule justice, and she Avell 
maintained her reputation as the best "guard," in the 
mountain ; for in two minutes an Indian stalked into 
the camp, dressed in a cloth capote, and in odds and 
ends of civilized attire. 

" Rapaho," cried Killbuck, as soon as he saw him ; 
and the Indian catching the word, struck his hand upon 
his breast, and exclaimed, in broken Spanish and En- 
glish mixed, " Si, si, me Arapaho, white man amigo. 



MAIIY CHASE. 221 

Come from Pueblo hunt cibola me gun break no 
puedo matar nada : mucha hambre (very hungry) 
heap eat." 

Killbuck offered his pipe to the Indian, and spoke to 
him in his own language, which both he and La Bonte 
well understood. They learned that he was married 
to a Mexican woman, and lived with some hunters at 
.the Pueblo fort on the Arkansas, lie volunteered the 
information that a war party of his people were out on 
the Platte trail to intercept the Indian traders on their 
return from the North Fork ; and as some " Mormons' 
had just started in that direction, he said his people 
would make a " raise." Being muy amigo himself to 
the whites, he cautioned his present companions from 
crossing to the "divide," as the "braves," he said, 
were a " heap" mad, and their hearts were " big," and 
nothing in the shape of white skin would live before 
them. 

" Wagh !" exclaimed Killbuck, " the Rapahos know 
me, I'm thinking; and small gain they've made against 
this child. I've knowed the time when my gun-cover 
could'nt hold more of their scalps." 

The Indian was provided with some powder, of which 
he stood in need ; and, after gorging as much meat as 
his capacious stomach would hold, he left the camp, 
and started into the mountain. 

The next day our hunters started on their journey 
down the river, travelling leisurely, and stopping when- 
ever good grass presented itself. One morning they 



222 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

suddenly struck a wheel trail, which left the creel 
banks and pursued a course at right angles to it, in the 
direction of the " divide." Killbuck pronounced it 
but a few hours old, and that of three wagons drawn 
by oxen. 

' Wagh !" he exclaimed, "if them poor devils of 
Mormonites ain't going head first into the Rapaho trap, 
they'll be 'gone beaver' afore long." 

" Ay," said the strange hunter, "these are the 
wagons belonging to old Brand, and he has started 
alone for Laramie. I hope nothing will happen to 
them." 

"Brand!" muttered La Bonte. "I knowed that 
name mighty well once, years ago : and should hate 
the worst kind that mischief happened to any one who 
bore it. This trail's as fresh as paint ; and it goes 
against me to let these simple critters help the Ila- 
pahos to their own hair. This child feels like help- 
ing 'em out of the scrape. What do you say, old hos ?" 

" I thinks with you, boy," answered Killbuck, " and 
go in for following this wagon trail, and telling the 
poor critters that thar's danger ahead of them. What's 
your talk, stranger?" 

"I go with you," shortly answered the latter; and 
both followed after La Bonte, who was already trotting 
smartly on the trail. 

Menu while the three wagons, containing the house- 
hold goods of the Brand family, rumbled slowly over 
t'jc rolling prairie, and toward the upland ridge of the 



MART CHASE. 223 

' divide," which, studded with dwarf pine and cedar 
thicket, rose gradually before them. They travelled 
with considerable caution, for already the quick eye 
of Antoine had discovered recent Indian sign upon the 
trail, and, with mountain quickness, had at once made 
it out to be that of a war party ; for there were no 
horses with them, and after one or two of the mocca- 
sin tracks, the mark of a rope which trailed upon the 
ground was sufficent to show him that the Indians were 
provided with the usual lasso of skin, with which to 
secure the horses stolen in the expedition. The men 
of the party were consequently all mounted and tho- 
roughly armed, the wagons moved in a line abreast, 
and a sharp look-out was kept on all sides. The women 
and children were all consigned to the interior of the 
wagons ; and the latter had also guns in readiness, to 
take their part in the defence, should an attack be 
made. 

However, they had seen no Indians, and no fresh 
sign, for two days after they had left the Boiling Spring 
River, and they began to think they were well out of 
their neighborhood. One evening they camped on a 
creek called Black Horse, and, as usual, had corralled 
the wagons, and forted as well as circumstances would 
permit, when three or four Indians suddenly appeared 
on a bluif at a little distance, and, making signals of 
peaceable intentions, approached the camp. Most of 
the men were absent at the time, attending to the 
cattle or collecting fuel, and only old Brand and one 



224 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of his young grandchildren, about fourteen years old, 
remained in camp. The Indians were hospitably re- 
ceived, and regaled with a smoke, after which they 
began to evince their curiosity by examining every ar- 
ticle lying about, and signifying their wishes that it 
should be given to them. Finding their hints were 
not taken, they laid hold of several things which took 
their fancies, and, among others, of the pot which was 
boiling on the fire, and with which one of them was 
about very coolly to walk off, when old Brand, who up 
to this moment had retained possession of his temper, 
seized it out of the Indian's hand, and knocked him 
down. One of the others instantly began to draw the 
buckskin cover from his gun, and would no doubt have 
taken summary vengeance for the insult offered to his 
companion, when Mary Brand courageously stepped 
up to him, and, placing her left hand upon the gun 
which he was in the act of uncovering, with the other 
pointed a pistol at his breast. 

Whether daunted by the bold act of the girl, or ad- 
miring her devotion to her father, the Indian drew 
himself back, exclaimed "Howgh!" and drew the 
cover again on his piece, went up to old Brand, who 
was all this time looking him sternly in the face, and, 
shaking him by the hand, motioned at the same time 
to the others to be peaceable. 

The other whites presently coming into camp, the 
Indians sat quietly down by the fire, and, when the 
supper was ready, joined in the repast, after which 



MARY CHASE. 225 

they gathered their buffVlo robes about them, and 
quietly withdrew. Meanwhile Antoine, knowing the 
treacherous character of th-3 savages, advised that the 
greatest rrecarition should be taken to secure the 
slock ; and before dark; thsr3: c ore all the mules and 
horses were hobbled and secured within the corral, 
the oxer, being allowed to feed / liberty for the In- 
dians scarcely saro to troubls themselves with such 
cattle. A gu&id was also set the camp, and relieved 
every two hours; the fire was extinguished, lest the 
savages should aiT< ; by its light, at any of the party, 
and all slept with rifles ready at their sides. How- 
ever, the night passed quietly, and nothing disturbed 
the tranquillity cf the camp. The prairie wolves loped 
hungrily around, and their raourr.fi'1 cry was borne 
upon the wind as tiny chased deer and antelope on 
the neighboring plain ; but not a sign of lurking 
Indians was sesn or heard. 

In the morning, shortly after sunrise, they were in 
the act of yoking the oxen to the wagons, and driving 
in the loose animals which had been turned out to feed 
at daybreak., when some Indians again appeared on the 
bluff, and, descending it, confidently approached the 
camp. Antoine strongly advised their not being al- 
lowed to enter but .Brand, ignorant of Indian treach- 
ery, replied that, so long as they came as friends, they 
could not be deemed enemies, and allowed no obstruc- 
tion to be offered to their approach. It was now observed 
that they were all painted, armed with bows and arrows, 
15 



226 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

and divested of their buffalo robes, appearing naked 
to the breech-clout, their legs only being protected by 
deerskin leggings, reaching to the middle of the thigh 
Six or seven first arrived; ,nd others quickly followed, 
dropping in one after tlie other, until a sccre or more 
were collected round the wagons. Their demeanor, 
at first friendly, scon changed as their numbers in- 
creased, and they now became urgent in their demands 
for powder and lead, and bullying in their manner. 
A chief accosted Brand, and, though Antoine, in- 
formed him " that, unless the demand of his braves 
were acceded to> ha could not be responsible for the 
consequences; iLat Ihej ^ere out on the 'war-trail,' 
and their eyes * ere red with blood, so that they could 
not distinguish \ e'jf. ter. ^hite anc Yut, scalps; that 
the party, with all their "vorien ar.d wagons, were in the 
power of the Indian 'braves,' and therefore the white 
chief's best plan was to mal'e the bos i^rms he could ; 
that all they required v/as tha', the} should give up 
their guns and ammunition ' en the prairie,' and all 
their mules and horses rete.inlng ;iis 'medicine' 
buffaloes (the oxen) to draw thilr Wcgcns/' 

By this time the oxen were joked, and the team- 
stei*s, whip in hand, only waited the word to start. 
Old Brand formed while the Indian stated his demands, 
but, hearing him to the end, exclaimed, " Darn the 
red devil ! I would'nt give him a grain of powder tc 
save my life. Put out, boys!" and, turning to his 
horse, which stood ready saddled, was about tc mount, 



'MARY CHASE. 227 

H r hen the Indians sprang at once upon the wagons, and 
commenced the attack, yelling like fiends. 

One jumped upon Old Brand, pulled him back as he 
was rising in the stirrup, and drew his bow upon him 
at the same moment. In an instant the old backwoods- 
man pulled a pistol from his belt, and, putting the 
muzzle to the Indian's heart, shot him dead. Another 
Indian, flourishing his war-club, laid the old man at 
his feet ; while some dragged the women from the 
wagons, and others rushed upon the men, who made 
brave fight in their defence. 

Mary, when she saw her father struck to the ground, 
sprang with a shrill cry to his assistance ; for at that 
moment a savage, frightful as red paint could make 
him, was standing over his prostrate body, brandish- 
ing a glittering knife in the air, preparatory to thrust- 
ing it into the old man's breast. For the rest, all was 
confusion : in vain the small party of whites struggled 
against overpowering numbers. Their rifles cracked 
but once, and they were quickly disarmed ; while the 
shrieks of the women and children, and the loud yells 
of the Indians, added to the scene of horror and con- 
fusion. As Mary flew to her father's side, an Indian 
threw his lasso at her, the noose falling over her 
shoulders, and jerking it tight, he uttered a delighted 
yell as the poor girl was thrown back violently to the 
ground. As she fell, another deliberately shot an ar- 
row at her body, while the one who had thrown the 
lasso rushed forward, his scalping-knife flashing in his 



228 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

hand, to seize the bloody tropliy of his savant* deed. 
Thr girl rose to her knees, arid looked wildly toward 
the spot where her father lay bathed in Mood ; but 
the Indian pulled the rope violently, dragged her some 
yards upon the ground, and then rushed with a yell 
of vengeance upon his victim. He paused, however, 
as at that moment a shout as fierce as his own sounded 
at his very ear ; and looking up he saw La Bonte gal- 
loping madly down the bluff, his long hair and the 
fringes of his hunting-shirt and leggings flying in the 
wind, his right arm supporting his trusty rifle, while 
close behind him came Killbuck and the stranger. 
Dashing with loud hurrahs to the scene of action, La 
Bonte, as he charged down the bluff, caught sight of 
the girl struggling in the hands of the ferocious In- 
dian. Loud was the war-shout of the mountaineer, 
as he struck his heavy spurs to the rowels in the 
horse's side, and bounded like lightning to the rescue. 
In a single stride he was upon the Indian, and thrust- 
ing the muzzle of his rifle into his very breast, he pulled 
the trigger, driving the savage backward by the blow 
itself, at the same moment that the bullet p 
through his heart, and tumbled him over stone-dead. 
Throwing down his rifle, La Bonte wheeled his 
obedient horse, and drawing a pistol from his belr, 
again charged the enemy, among whom Killbuck and 
the stranger were dealing death giving blows. Yelling 
for victory, the mountaineers rushed at the Indians: 
and they panic-struck at the sudden attack, and think- 



MARY CHASE. 229 

ing this was but the advanced guard of a large band, 
fairly turned and fled, leaving five of their number 
dead upon the field. 

Mary, shutting her eyes to the expected death- 
stroke, heard the loud shout La Bonte gave in charg- 
ing down the bluff, and, again looking up, saw the 
wild-looking mountaineer rush to her rescue, and save 
her from the savage by his timely blow. Her arms 
were still pinned by the lasso, which prevented her 
from rising to her feet ; and La Bonte was the first 
to run to aid her, as soon as the fight was fairly over. 
He jumped from his horse, cut the skin-rope which 
bound her, raised her from the ground, and, upon her 
turning up her face to thank hire, beheld his never- 
to-be-forgotten Mary Bland ; while she, hardly be- 
lieving her senses, recognised in her deliverer her 
former lover, and still beloved La Bonte. 

. " What, Mary, can it be you !" he asked, looking 
intently upon the trembling woman. 

"La Bonte, you don't forget me!" she answered, 
and threw herself sobbing into the arms of the sturdy 
mountaineer. 

There we will leave them for the present, and help 
Killbuck and his five companions to examine the 
killed and wounded. . Of the former five Indians and 
two whites lay dead, grandchildren of old Brand, fine 
lads of fourteen or fifteen, who had fought with the 
greatest bravery, and lay pierced with arrow and 
ance wounds. Old Brand had received a sore buffet. 



230 HF.UOIC WOMF.N OF TFIK WEST. 

liit a liatful of cold water from the creek sprinkled 
over his face soon restored him. His sons had not 
escaped .scot-free, and Antoine was shot through the 
neck, and falling, had actually been half scalped by 
an Indian, whom the timely arrival of La Bonte had 
caused to leave his work unfinished. 

Silently, and with sad hearts, the survivors of the 
family, saw the bodies of the two boys buried on the 
river bank, and the spot marked with a pile of loose 
stones, procured from the rocky bed of the creek. The 
carcasses of the treacherous Indians were left to be 
devoured by wolves, and their bones to bleach in the 
sun and wind a warning to their tribe, that such foul 
treachery as they had meditated had met with a merited 
retribution. 

The next day the party continued their course to 
the Platte. Antoine and the stranger returned to 
the Arkansas, starting in the night to avoid the In- 
dians ; but Killbuck and La Bonte lent the aid of 
their rifles to the solitary caravan, and, under their 
experienced guidance, no more Indian perils were en- 
countered. Mary no longer sat perched up in her 
father's Conostoga, but rode a quiet mustang by La 
Bonte's side ; and no doubt they found a theme with 
which to while away the monotonous journey over the 
dreary plains. South Fork was passed and Lararaie 
was reached. The Sweet Water Mountains, which 
hang over the " pass" to California, were long since 
in sight ; but when the waters of the North Fork of 



MARY CHASE. 231 

Platte lay before their horses' feet, and the broad trail 
was pointed out which led to the great valley of Co- 
lumbia and their promised land, the heads of the oxen 
were turned down the stream where the shallow waters 
flow on to join the great Missouri and not up, toward 
the mountains where they leave their spring-heads, 
from which spring flow several waters some coursing 
their way to the eastward, fertilizing, in their route to 
the Atlantic, the lands of civilized man ; others west- 
ward forcing a passage through rocky canons, and 
flowing through a barren wilderness, inhabited by 
fierce and barbarous tribes. 

These were the routes to choose from : and, what- 
ever was the cause the oxen turned their yoked heads 
away from the rugged mountains ; the teamsters joy- 
fully cracked their ponderous whips, as the wagons 
rolled lightly down the Platte ; and men, women, and 
children, waved their hats and bonnets in the air, and 
cried out lustily, " Hurrah for home !" 

La Bonte and his faithful Mary were married soon 
afterwards. La Bonte gave up his wandering life, 
and settled in Tennessee. 



MRS. D.ORION. 

THE Pacific Fur Company, founded by John Jarob 
Astor, of New York, in 1810, met with extraordinary 
difficulties in carrying on its trading operations in the 
wilderness of Oregon. The country and its inhabi- 
tants were almost entirely unknown. When explor- 
ing parties started from Astoria, they found that they 
had to proceed through regions where the greatest 
privations were to be endured ; and the Indians dis- 
played the most determined hostility. To add to the 
misfortunes of the adventurers, war broke out between 
Great Britain and the United States, and the Hudson's 
Bay Company took possession of Astoria. 

Early in the summer of 1813, a party of traders, 
under the command of a Mr. Reed, and accompanied 
by Pierre Dorion, an interpreter, with his wife and 
two children, started on an expedition into the Snake 
country. Nothing more was heard of them until 
April of the next year, when Mrs. Dorion, accompa- 
nied by a few friendly Indians, arrived at AValla 

12835) 



MRS. DORION. 23a 

Walla. This unfortunate woman told a story of ha:d- 
ships, borne with a fortitude, and surmounted with a 
resolution, to which we can find no parallel in the 
annals of female heroism. We give her narrative in 
her own simple and touching words : 

" About he middle of August we reached the Great 
Snake River, and soon afterwards, following up a 
branch to the right hand, where there were plenty of 
beaver, we encamped ; and there Mr. Reed built a house 
to winter in. After the house was built, the people 
spent their time in trapping beaver. About the latter 
end of September, Hoback, Robinson, and Rezner came 
to us ; but they were very poor, the Indians having 
robbed them of every thing they had about fifteen days 
before. Mr. Reed gave them some clothing and traps, 
and they went to hunt with my husband. Landrie got 
a fall from his horse, lingered a while, and died of it. 
Delaunay was killed, when trapping : my husband told 
me that he saw his scalp with the Indians, and knew 
it from the color of the hair. The Indians about the 
place were very friendly to us ; but when strange tribes 
visited us, they were troublesome, and always asked 
Mr. Reed for guns and ammunition : on one occasion, 
they drove an arrow into one of the horses, and took 
a capot from La Chapelle. Mr. Reed not liking the 
place where we first built, we left it, and built farther 
up the river, on the other side. After the second house 
was built, the people went to trap as usual, sometimes 
coming home every night, sometimes sleeping out for 



234 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

several nights together at a time. Mr. Reed and one 
man generally stayed at the house. 

"Late one evening, about the 10th of January, a 
friendly Indian came running to our house, in a great 
fright, and told Mr. Heed that a band of the bad Snakes 
called the Dog-rib tribe, had burnt the first house that 
we had built, and that they were coming on whooping 
and singing the war-song. After communicating this 
intelligence, the Indian went off immediately, and 1 
took up my two children, got upon a horse, and set off 
to where my husband was trapping ; but the night was 
dark, the road bad, and I lost my way. The next day 
being cold and stormy, I did not stir. On the second 
day, however, I set out again ; but seeing a large 
smoke in the direction I had to go, and thinking it 
might proceed from Indians, I got into the bushes 
again and hid myself. On the third day, late in the 
evening, I got in sight of the hut, where my husband 
and the other men were hunting ; but just as I was ap- 
proaching the place, I observed a man coining from the 
opposite side, and staggering as if unwell : I stopped 
where I was till he came to me. Le Clerc, wounded 
and faint from loss of blood, was the man. He told 
me that La Chapelle, Rezner, and my husband had 
been robbed and murdered that morning. I did not 
go into the hut ; but putting Le Clerc and one of my 
children on the horse I had with me, I turned round 
immediately, took to the woods, and I. retraced my 
steps back again to Mr. Reed's ; Le Clerc, however, 



MRS. DORION. 235 

could not bear the jolting of the horse, and he fell 
once or twice, so that we had to remain for nearly a 
day in one place ; but in the night he died, and I 
covered him over with brushwood and snow, put my 
children on the horse, I myself walking and leading 
the animal by the halter. The second day I got back 
again to the house. But sad was the sight ! Mr. 
Reed and the men were all murdered, scalped, and 
cut to pieces. Desolation and horror stared me in 
the face. I turned from the shocking sight in agony 
and despair ; took to the woods with my children and 
horse, and passed the cold and lonely night without 
food or fire. I was now at a loss what to do : the 
snow was deep, the weather cold, and we had nothing 
to eat. To undertake a long journey under such cir- 
cumstances was inevitable death. Had I been alone 
I w r ould have run all risks and proceeded ; but the 
thought of my children perishing with hunger dis- 
tracted me. At this moment a sad alternative crossed 
my mind ; should I venture to the house among the 
dead to seek food for the living ? I knew there was 
a good stock of fish there ; but it might have been 
destroyed or carried off by the murderers ; and, be- 
sides, they might be still lurking about and see me ; 
yet I thought of my children. Next morning, after a 
sleepless night, I wrapped my children in my robe, tied 
my horse in a thicket, and then went to a rising ground, 
that overlooked the house, to see if I could observe 
any thing stirring about the place. I saw nothing, 



2HG iiEuoro WOMEV or THE WEST. 



and. hard ns the task was. T resolved to venture after 
dark ; so I returned back to my children, and found 
them nearly frozen, and I was afraid to make a fire in 
the day time lest the smoke might be seen ; yet I had 
no other alternative, I must make a fire or let my 
children perish. I made a fire and warmed them. I 
then rolled them np again in the robe, extinguished the 
fire, and set off after dark to the house ; went into the 
store and ransacked every hole and corner, and at last 
found plenty of fish scattered about. I gathered, hid, 
and slung upon my back as much as I could carry, 
and returned again before dawn of day to my children. 
They were nearly frozen, and weak with hunger. I 
made a fire and warmed them, and then we shared the 
first food we had tasted for the last three days. Next 
night I went back again, and carried off another load ; 
but when these efforts were over, I sank under the 
sense of my afflictions, and was for three days unable 
to move, and without hope. On recovering a little, 
however, I packed all up, loaded my horse, and putting 
my children on the top of the load, set out again on 
foot, leading the horse by the halter as before. In 
this sad and hopeless condition I travelled through 
deep snow among the woods, rocks, and rugged paths 
for nine days, till I and the. horse could travel no more. 
" Here I selected a lonely spot at the foot of a rocky 
precipice, in the Blue Mountains, intending there to 
pass the remainder of the winter. I killed my horse, 
and hung up the flesh on a tree for my winter food, 



MRS. DORION. 237 

I built a small hut with pine branches, long grass, and 
moss, and packed it all round with snow to keep us 
warm, and this was a difficult task, for I had no axe, 
but only a knife to cut wood. In this solitary dwel- 
ling I passed fifty-three lonely days ! I then left my 
hut and set out with my children to cross the moun- 
tains ; but I became snow blind the second day, and 
had to remain for three days without advancing a step ; 
and this was unfortunate, as our provisions were almost 
exhausted. Having recovered my sight a little, I set 
out again, and got clear off the mountains, and down 
to the plains on the fifteenth day after leaving my 
winter encampment ; but for six days we had scarcely 
any thing to eat, and for the las^ two days not a 
mouthful. Soon after we had reached the plains I per- 
ceived smoke at a distance ; but being unable to carry 
my children farther, I wrapped them up in my robe, left 
them concealed, and set out alone in hopes of reaching 
the Indian camp, where I had seen the smoke ; but I 
was so weak that I could hardly crawl, and had to 
sleep on the way. Next day, at noon, I got to the 
camp. It proved to belong to the Walla Wallas, and 
I was kindly treated by them. Immediately on my 
arrival the Indians set off in search of my children, 
and brought them to the camp the same night. Here 
we staid for two days, and then moved on to the river, 
expecting to hear something of the white people on 
their way either up or down." 

The poor woman was Avell provided for by the white? 



238 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

tit Walla Walla; but it was a long time before she re- 
covered from the suffering and exertion of her extra- 
ordinary journey. It will be observed that in her nar- 
rative, Mrs. Dorion mentions that on several occa- 
sions she was about to yield to despair, to resign herself 
to her fate, and perish without further struggles. But 
the feelings of the mother interfered. Her children's 
lives were at stake, and she could not look on quietly 
and see them freeze or starve. She lived and struggled 
for their salvation, and God willed that she should be 
{successful. 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FE- 
MALE EMIGRANTS. 

IN many cases, where the " weaker" sex are brought 
in direct rivalry of endurance with their sterner com- 
panions, they prove that they are at least equal ; and 
when the difference of habit and occupation are taken 
into consideration, we are compelled to a yard the 
'fresher laurels to woman. 

In the summer and autumn of 1846, a party of 
California emigrants met with a series of disasters 
never before experienced by adventurers upon the 
western plains, and of a nature so terrible that the 
bare recital is painful. The party consisted of J. F. 
Reed, wife, and four children ; Jacob Donner, wife, 
and seven children ; William Pike, wife, and two 
children ; William Foster, wife, and one child ; Lewis 
Kiesburg, wife, and one child ; Mrs. Murphy, a widow 
woman, and five children; William M'Cutchen. wife, 
and one child ; W. H. Eddy, wife, and two children ; 
W. Graves, wife, and eight children ; Jay Fosdicka 
and his wife ; Noah James, Patrick Dolan, Samuel 

(239^ 



240 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Shoemaker, John Denton, C. F. Stanton, MiUon El 

Hot, Smith, Joseph Rianhard, Augustus Spi/er, 

John Baptiste, Antoine, Herring, 

Hallerin, Charles Burger, and Baylis Williams. 

The party was well supplied with wagons, teams, 
cattle, provision, arms, and ammunition. 

At the camp, on the Sweet Water river, on the 
eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, the party was 
induced by the representations of one Lansford W. 
Hastings, to take a new route to California, and they 
started through an unknown region, full of hope, and 
of a speedy journey. But they found great difficulty 
in proceeding, even before they came to the Utah 
valley. One part of the road had to be cut through 
a wood, and the emigrants were occupied thirty days 
in travelling forty miles. On the 1st day of Septem- 
ber, they pursued their journey around the south side 
of the Great Salt Lake, and through a beautiful val- 
ley, since occupied by the Mormons. There they 
were detained a short time, by the death of Mr. Ilal- 
lerin, and an accident to a wagon. Soon after resum- 
ing their journey, the party was compelled to travel 
two days without finding grass or water, and many of 
their cattle died from exhaustion. After this perilous 
drive, gloomy forebodings seized upon the stoutest 
hearts among the emigrants. 

Many families were completely ruined. They were 
yd in a country of hostile Indians, far from all succor, 
betrayed by one of their own counir yinen. They 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 241 

could not tell what was the character of the road yet 
before them, since the man in whose veracity they re- 
posed confidence, had proved himself so utterly un- 
worthy of it. To retreat across the desert to Bridger 
was impossible. There was no way left to them, but 
to advance ; and this they now regarded as perilous in 
the extreme. The cattle that survived were exhausted 
and broken down ; but to remain there was to die. 
Feeble and dispirited, therefore, they slowly resumed 
cheir journey. 

On this drive thirty-six head of working cattle were 
lost, and the oxen that survived were greatly injured. 
One of Mr. Reed's wagons was brought to camp ; and 
two, with all they contained, were buried in the plain. 
George Donner lost one wagon. Kiesburg also lost a 
wagon. The atmosphere was so dry upon the plain, 
that the wood-work of all the wagons shrank to a de- 
gree that made it next to impossible to get any of 
them through. 

Having yoked some loose cows, as a team for Mr. 
Reed, they broke up their camp on the morning of 
September 16th, and resumed their toilsome journey, 
with feelings which can be appreciated by those only 
who have travelled the road under somewhat similar 
circumstances. On this day they travelled six miles, 
encountering a very severe snow storm. About three 
o'clock, P. M., they met Milton Elliot and William 
Graves, returning from a fruitless effort to find some 
cattle that had got off. They informed them that they 
16 



1142 HL;KUIC WOMEN or THE \VJ:.-T. 

were in the immediate vicinity of a spring, at which com 
menced another dry drive of forty miles. They en- 
camped for the night, and at dawn of day of Septem- 
ber 17th, they resumed their journey, and at four 
o'clock, A. M., of the 18th, they arrived at water and 
grass, some of their cattle having perished, and the 
teams which survived being in a very enfeebled con- 
dition. Here the most of the little property which 
Mr. Reed still had, was buried, or cached, together 
with that of others. Here, Mr. Eddy proposed putting 
his team to Mr. Reed's wagon, and letting Mr. Tike 
have his wagon, so that the three families could be 
taken on. This was done. They remained in camp 
during the day of the 18th to complete these arrange- 
ments, and to recruit their exhausted cattle. 

The journey was continued with scarcely any inter- 
ruption or accident, until the 1st of October, when 
some Indians stole a yoke of oxen from Mr. Graves. 
Other thefts followed, and it became evident that the 
party would suffer severely, from the hostility of the 
of the Indians. The women were kept in continual 
alarm by the proximity of the savages, and the pros- 
pects of their depredations. A large number of cattlo 
were stolen or shot by these merciless marauders. 

On the morning of October 12th, the emigrants 
resumed their journey. One of Mr. Eddy's oxen gave 
out during the day, and they left him. At twelve 
o'clock at night they encamped at the sinks of Ogdcn's 
river. At daylight on the morning of the loth they 



WONDERFUL FOUTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 243 

drove their cattle to grass, and put them under a guard. 
The guard came in to breakfast, and in their absence 
the Indians killed twenty-one head, including the 
whole of Mr. Eddy's team, except one ox ; the whole 
of V\ olfinger's, except one. Wolfinger wished to cache 
his goods at the sinks, but the company refused to wait. 
Rianhard and Spitzer, who was travelling with him, re- 
mained behind to assist him. Three days afterward 
the two former came up to the company at Truckee 
river, and said that the Indians came down from the 
hills upon them, and after killing Wolfinger, drove 
them from the wagons, which they burned, after taking 
the goods out. 

Here Mr. Eddy cached every thing he had, except 
the clothing which he and his family had on. On this 
morning they partook of their last remaining mouthful 
of food. The Indians were upon the adjacent hills, 
looking down upon them, and absolutely laughing at 
their calamity. The lock of Mr. Eddy's rifle had been 
broken some days before, and the gun left. He could 
riot obtain one, and had he been able to do so, it would 
have been worse than insanity for him to have 'encoun- 
tered the Indians alone. Dejected and sullen, he took 
up about three pounds of loaf sugar, put some bullets 
in his pocket, and stringing his powder-horn upon his 
shoulders, took up his boy in his arms, while his afflicted 
Eleanor carried their still more helpless infant, and 
in this most miserable and forlorn plight, they set out 
once more on foot to make their way through the pit'- 



244 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

less wilderness. Trackless, snow-clad mountains in 
tercepted their progress, an 1 seemed to present an im- 
passable barrier to all human succor : mountains, 
the passage of which, with even the accessories of 
emigrant wagons, and in the most pleasant season, 
would have been a feat of no small difficulty. Without 
shoes these having been worn out by the jairircd 
rocks they had nothing to protect their feet but moc- 
casins, which were also so much worn as to be of little 
service. Their painful and perilous way led over broken 
rocks, presenting acute angles, or prickly pears, which 
alike lacerated their feet in the most dreadful manner. 
Nature disputed their passage, and Heaven seemed to 
be offended. They struggled on, however, with their 
precious charge, without food or water, until 4 o'clock 
on the morning of the 14th, when they arrived at a 
spring that jetted up a column of boiling hot water, 
about twenty feet high. It was situated in a r< 
that had been rent into millions of fragments by vol- 
canic fires. The desolation was such as to in;; 
upon the mind the idea of expiring nature convulsed 
with the throes and agonies of the last great and ter- 
rible day, or of an angry Deity having taken vengeance 
on a guilty world. Having obtained some coffee from 
Mrs. Donner, Mr. Eddy put it into a pot, and thus 
boiled it in the hot spring for the nourishment of his 
wife and children, refusing to partake of it himself. 

About nine o'clock the party left f r Spring 

and travelled all that day until sunset-, over a road ir 



WOXDEIIFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 245 

no respect different from that of the 13th. At this 
time Mr. Eddy's little children were in great danger 
of perishing for the want of water. He applied tc 
Patrick Brinn, who he knew had ten gallons, for a 
half pint to give to them. Brinn denied having any ; 
but this Mr. Eddy knew to be untrue, for he had him- 
self filled Brinn's cask at the sinks of Ogden's river ; 
Brinn finally admitted that he had water, but he said 
he did not know how far water was yet distant from 
them, and he feared his own family would require it. 
Mr. Eddy told him with an energy he never before 
felt, that he would have it or have Brinn's life. He 
immediately turned away from Brinn, and went m 
quest of the water and gave some to his children. 

At sunset they arrived at an exceedingly difficult 
sand-ridge of ten miles in width. They crossed it 
about four o'clock on the morning of the 15th, the 
company losing three yoke of cattle that died from 
fatigue. 

Neither Mr. Eddy nor his wife had tasted food for 
two days and nights, nor had the children any thing 
except the sugar with which he left the sinks at Ogden'u 
river. He applied to Mrs. Graves and Mrs. Brinn for 
a small piece of meat for his wife and chijdren, who 
were very faint. They, both refused. The emigrants 
remained in camp to rest the cattle. The Indians killed 
some of them during the day. 

Mr. Edd,y procured a gun in the morning, and 
started to kill some geese which he heard. In about 



246 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

two hours he returned with nine very fat ones. Mrs. 
Brinn and Mrs. Graves congratulated him, and ex- 
pressed the opinion that they were very fine, and won- 
dered what he would do with them. lie invited them 
to help themselves, and they each took two. lie gave 
Kiesburg one. 

October 16th, early in the morning, they resumed 
their journey, and commenced driving up Truckee 
river. Nothing of importance occurred until October 
10<-,h, about ten o'clock, A.M., when they met Mr. C. 
F. Stanton and two Indian vaqueros (cow-herds) of 
Captain Sutter, one named Lewis, and the other Sal- 
vadore. Mr. Stanton had flour and a little dried 
meat, which he had procured for them. 

William Pike was killed by the accidental discharge 
of a six-shooter in the hands of William Foster. He 
died in one hour : he was shot through in the back. 

On the evening of October 22d, they crossed the 
Truckee river, the forty-ninth and last time, in eighty 
miles. They encamped on the top of a hill. He-re 
nineteen oxen were shot by an Indian, who put one 
arrow in each ox. The cattle did not die. Mr. Eddy 
caught him in the act, and fired upon him as he fled. 
The ball struck him between the shoulders, and came 
out at the breast. At the crack of the rifle he sprung 
up about three feet, and with a terrible yell fell down a 
bank into a bunch of willows. 

On the morning of October 23d they resumed their 
journey, and continued travelling without any thing 



WONLERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 24? 

of importance occurring until October 28th at dark, 
when they encamped upon Truckee Lake, situated at 
the foot of Fremont's Pass of the main chain of the 
Sierra Nevada. The Pass is here nine thousand eight 
hundred and thirty eight feet high. 

On the morning of October the 29th, they again con- 
tinued their journey, and went on within three miles 
of the top of the Pass, where they found the snow about 
five feet deep. This compelled them to return to a 
cabin, which was situated one mile in advance of their 
camp of the previous night. Here they remained in 
camp during the 30th. At dark their fellow-travellers, 
Stanton, Graves, the Donners and some others, camo 
up. On the morning of October 31st the whole body 
again started to cross the mountain. They succeeded 
in getting within three miles of the top of the Pass. 
The snow had deepened to about ten feet. The night 
was bitterly cold ; the wind howled through the trees, 
and the snow and hail descended. Finding it utterly 
impossible to cross, they commenced retracing their 
step? on the morning of November 1st, and arrived 
at the cabin about four o'clock.* 

The emigrants now saw that they would be com- 
pelled to winter where they were, and they set to work 
to build cabins and collect provisions. On the 12th 
of November, a party, headed by Mr. Eddy, started to 
cross the mountains on foot, and obtain relief for the 
families left behind. The parting between the hus- 
*" Oregon and California," by Thornton. 



248 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bands and wives was affecting, for neither knew but 
that it would be final. But the snow was found to be 
so deep upon the mountains, that the party could not 
proceed, and it returned to the camp. Mr. Eddy now 
succeeded in killing a grizzly bear and some game, 
but starvation began to stare the emigrants in the face. 
On the 21st of November, six women and sixteen 
men, including Stanton and two Indians, made another 
effort to cross the mountains on foot. They reached 
the western side of the mountain, but there Stanton 
refused to proceed, in consequence of not being able 
to get along with seven mules belonging to Captain 
Sutter. Mr. Eddy argued and threatened in vain ; 
and the party was once more compelled to return to 
camp. A violent snow storm now set in, and it be- 
came exceedingly difficult for the emigrants to obtain 
wood, to protect themselves against the severity of the 
weather. The sufferings of the women were intense, 
but, according to the testimony of the survivors of this 
trying time, they bore it with extraordinary fortitude. 
The snow continued to fall until the 5th of December, 
and, when the clouds broke away, the emigrants found 
it eight feet deep. The sunshine, however, cheered 
them somewhat and some of the party manufactured 
snow-shoes to make another attempt at crossing the 
mountains. On the llth, the snow again dcscendi d, 
and the hearts of the emigrants died within them. On 
the 14th, Baylis Williams died of starvation. Severa' 
others oi the party seemed about to meet the same fate 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 249 

On the IGth of December, the following person! 
Started on snow-shoes to cross the mountains: Sarah 
Fosdiek, Mary Graves, William Foster, Sarah Foster, 
C. F. Stanton, William Graves, Jay Fosdiek, William 
Murphy, Patrick Dolan, Antoine, Lewis, Salvadore, 
Charles Burger, Harriet Pike, Lemuel Murphy, 
Mrs. M'Cutchen, and William Eddy. The parting 
between Eddy and his wife has been described by the 
husband as agonizing in the extreme. In the early 
part of the journey, two men, William Murphy and 
Charles Burger, were compelled by weakness to turn 
back. 

The others pressed on, and, on the third day, they 
encamped on the west side of the Sierra Nevada. On 
the 22d of December, they consumed the last of their 
little stock of provisions. The next day, Mr. Eddy, 
while examining a bag for the purpose of throwing 
out something, to enable him to get along with more 
ease, found about half a pound of bear's meat, to which 
was attached a paper, on which his wife had written a 
note, signed, "Your own dear Eleanor," in which she 
requested him to save it for the last extremity, and 
expressed the opinion that it would be the means of 
saving his life. The self-sacrifice involved in the little 
present can scarcely b.e conceived by those who are 
enjoying plenty. While the wife knew that every 
morsel of food she had would be necessary to sustain 
her and her children, until the return of the party, 
she had voluntary yielded a portion in the hope that 



250 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

her husband might he saved. She was ready to die 
that he might live. 

Mr. Stanton fell behind and perished soon aftei 
provisions failed. On Christmas day, the snow fall 
ing fast, the party held a council, for the purpose of 
determining whether to proceed. All the men but 
Mr. Eddy, refused to go forward. The women and 
Mr. Eddy declared they would go through or perish. 
It was now proposed that one person should be sacri- 
ficed to furnish food for the rest. This met with a 
determined opposition, and the miserable travellers 
continued to plod on for a few miles. They then 
encamped ; but the wind prevented them having a 
fire. That night, Antoiue, Mr. Graves, and Patrick 
Dolan, perished of hunger and cold, and Lemuel Mur- 
phy became deranged. Mr. Eddy, retaining his re- 
sources of mind, devised various ways of keeping tho 
rest of the party alive. A fire was now built. Por- 
tions of the body of Patrick Dolan were eaten by ths 
famished travellers, except Mr. Eddy. Lemuel Mur- 
phy died. Never were more horrors concentrated 
upon one spot than was witnessed at that "Camp of 
Death." The women, singularly enough, endured 
their privation with a fortitude that called forth the 
admiration of Mr. Eddy. 

On the 29th of December, the party left the " Camp 
of Death," and marched slowly onward. Their In- 
dian guides decl.uvd that they had lost the way, but 
they still moved forward. All their provisions were 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 251 

now consumed. On the morning of the 4th of January, 
1847, Mr. Eddy, seeing that all would soon perish, 
unless food was quickly obtained, resolved to take the 
gun, and press forward alone. He informed the party 
of his purpose. The women besought him not to leave 
them. Mary Graves, who had more strength than 
the other women, resolved that she would go with him 
or perish. The two set forward. Soon afterwards, 
Eddy had the great good fortune to shoot a deer, and 
that night the couple made a meal upon the entrails 
of the animal. The next day, the rest of the party, 
with the exception of Jay Fosdick, who had perished _ 
during the preceding night, were relieved. The emi- 
grants, somewhat refreshed, then pursued their jour- 
ney. The Indians, Lewis and Salvadore, being threat- 
ened with death at the hands of the famished party, 
had, some days before, stolen away so that there 
now remained five women, Mary Graves, Mrs. Pike, 
Mrs. M'Cutchen, Mrs. Foster, and Mrs. Fosdick, in 
charge of Mr. Eddy and Mr. Foster. Foster waa 
weak, and, at times, insane-'; so that Mr. Eddy alone, 
was able to guide the females. 

After the body of the deer had been consumed, the 
party fell upon the tracks of the two Indians. Foster 
overtook and killed them both. The flesh was then 
cut from their bones and dried. On the 10th of Jan- 
uary, when the emigrants were almost exhausted, and 
even Mr. Eddy was beginning to despair, they arrived 
at an Indian village, where they were hospitably re- 



252 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ccived and their immediate wants satisfied. The In 
dians accompanied them to the house of Colonel M. D 
llichey, where better fare was provided than the poor 
Indians possessed. Mr. Eddy was immediately put tc 
bed, being completely exhausted by the privations of 
his awful journey. 

The government of California being informed of the 
imminent peril of the emigrants 4n the mountain camp, 
took measures to send out relief; and a number of in- 
habitants contributed articles of clothing and provi- 
sions. Two expeditions, however, failed to cross the 
mountains in consequence of the depth of the snow. 
At length, a party of seven men, headed by Aquilla 
Glover and accompanied by Mr. Eddy, who, though 
weak, insisted on returning to ascertain the fate of his 
beloved wife and children, succeeded in crossing the 
mountains and reaching the camp. What they found 
there is best described by Judge Thornton, from whose 
graphic account of this disastrous expedition we have 
condensed the above. 

They arrived at The Mountain Camp as the last 
rays of the setting sun were departing from the tops 
of the mountains. Every thing was as silent as the 
grave. A painful stillness pervaded the scene. Upon 
some of the party raising a shout, for the purpose of 
finding their cabins, by attracting the attention of the 
living if, indeed, any did live the sufferers were 
seen coming out of the snow-holes, from the cabins, 
which were completely covered, the snow presenting 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. '253 

one unbroken level. They tottered toward their de- 
liverers, manifesting a delirium of joy, and acting in 
the wildest and most extravagant manner. Some 
wept ; seme laughed. All inquired, " Have you 
brought any thing for me?" Many of them had a 
peculiarly wild expression of the eye ; all looked 
haggard, ghastly, and horrible. The flesh was wasted 
from their bodies, and the skin seemed to have dried 
upon their bones. Their voices were weak and sepul- 
chral ; and the whole scene conveyed to the mind the 
idea of that shout having awakened the dead from 
the snows. Fourteen of their number, principally 
men, had already died from starvation, and many 
more were so reduced, that it was almost certain they 
would never rise from the miserable beds upon which 
they had lain down. The unhappy survivors were, in 
short, in a condition the most deplorable, and beyond 
the power of language to describe, or of the imagina- 
tion to conceive. The annals of human suffering no 
where present a more appalling spectacle, than that 
which blasted the eyes and sickened the hearts of 
those brave men, whose indomitable courage and per- 
severance, in tie face of so many dangers, hardships, 
and privations, snatched some of these miserable sur- 
vivors from the jaws of death, and who, for having 
done so much, merit the lasting gratitude and respect 
of every man whoJ^B a heart to feel for human woe, 
or a hand to afford relief. 

Many of the sufferers had been living for weeks 



HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

upon bullocks' hides, and even this sort of food was so 
nearly exhausted with some, that they were about to 
dig up from the snow the bodies of their companions, 
for the purpose of prolonging their wretched lives. 
Mrs. Reed, who lived in Brinn's cabin, had, during 
a considerable length of time, supported herself and 
four children, by cracking and boiling again the bones 
from which Brinn's family had carefully scraped all 
the flesh. These bones she had often taken, and 
boiled again and again, for the purpose of extracting 
the least remaining portion of nutriment. Mrs. Eddy 
and her children had perished. 

Some of the emigrants had been making preparar 
tions for death, and at morning and evening the in- 
cense of prayer and thanksgiving ascended from 
their cheerless and comfortless dwellings. Others 
there were, Avho cursed God, cursed the snow, and 
cursed the mountain, and in the wildest frenzy de- 
plored their miserable and hard fate. Some poured 
bitter imprecations upon the head of L. W. Hastings, 
for having deceived them as to the road upon which 
he had conducted them ; and all united in common 
fears of a common and inevitable death. Many of 
them had, in a great measure, lost all self-respect. 
Untold sufferings had broken their spirits, and pros- 
trated every thing like an honorable and commendable 
pride. Misfortune had dried up the fountains of the 
heart ; and the dead, whom their weakness had made 
it impossible to carry out, were dragged from theii 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 255 

cabins by means of ropes, with an apathy that afforded 
a faint indication of the extent of the change which a 
few weeks of dire suffering had produced, in hearts 
that once sympathized with the distressed, and mourned 
the departed. With many of them, all principle, too, 
had been swept away by this tremendous torrent of 
accumulated and accumulating calamities. It became 
necessary to place a guard over the little store of pro- 
visions brought to their relief; and they stole and de- 
voured the raw-hide strings from the snow-shoes of 
those who had come to deliver them. But some there 
were, whom no temptation could seduce, no suffering 
move ; who were 

" Among the faithless, faithful still." 

Upon going down into the cabins of this Mountain 
Camp, the party were presented with sights of woe, 
and scenes of horror, the full tale of which never will 
be told, and never ought ; sights which, although the 
emigrants had not yet commenced eating the dead, 
were so revolting, that J;hey were compelled to with- 
draw, and make a fire where they would not be under 
the necessity of looking upon the painful spectacle. 

On the morning of February 20th, John Rhodes, 
Daniel Tucker, and R. S. Mootrey, went to the camp 
of George Donner eight miles distant, taking with 
them a little beef. These sufferers were found with 
but one hide remaining. They had determined, thai, 
upon consuming this, they would dig up from the sno\> 



256 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the bodies of those who had died from starvation. Mr, 
Donner was helpless. Mrs. Dormer was weak, but in 
good health, and might have come into the settlements 
with Mr. Glover's party, yet she solemnly but calmly 
declared her determination to remain with her husband, 
and perform for him the last sad offices of affection 
and humanity. And this she did, in full view of the 
fact, that she must necessarily perish by remaining 
behind. 

On the evening of the 20th, the party that had gone 
down to Mr. Donner's camp in the morning, returned, 
bringing seven persons with them. 

The next day, at noon, the party, after leaving all 
the provisions they could spare, commenced their re- 
turn from the Mountain Camp to the settlement, with 
twenty-three persons, principally women and children. 
The results of the disastrous and horrible journey of 
Eddy and Foster were carefully concealed from these 
poor sufferers. To have acted otherwise would have 
been to overwhelm them with fear and despondency, 
and this in their condition would have proved fatal. 

Mrs. Pike's child and Mrs. Kiesburg's were carried 
by the party. After proceeding about two miles, two 
of Mrs. Reed's children gave out ; the one a little girl 
of eight years old, and the other a little boy of four. 
It became absolutely necessary, therefore, to return 
them to the Mountain Camp, or to abandon them upon 
the way. The mother was informed by Mr. Glover, 
that it was necessary to take them back. And now 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 257 

ensued that which is hoped none may ever be called 
upon to witness again. She was a wife, and affection 
for her husband, then in the settlement, no doubt sug- 
gested her going on. But she was a mother, also ; 
and maternal love the strongest of all feelings, that 
most powerful of all instincts determined her, imme- 
diately, to send forward the two children who could 
walk, while she would go back with the two youngest, 
and die with them. It was impossible for Mr. Glover 
to shake this resolution, although he promised, that 
when he arrived at Bear river valley, he would go 
back for them. At length she asked, " Are you a 
mason?" Upon receiving an answer in the affirmative, 
she said, " Do you promise me upon the word of a 
mason, that when you arrive at Bear river valley, you 
will return and bring out my children, if. we shall not, 
in the mean time, meet their father going for them ?" 
Mr. Glover replied, " I do thus promise." She then 
consented to go on. When the mother and .children 
were about to separate, Patty, a little girl eight years 
of age, took her mother by the hand, and said, " Well, 
mamma, kiss me. Good-bye ! I shall never see you 
again. I am willing to go back to our Mountain Camp 
and die ; but I cannot consent to your going back. I 
shall die willingly, if- I can believe that you will live 
to see papa. Tell him, good-bye, for his-poor Patty." 
The mother and the little children lingered in a long 
embrace Being separated, Patty turned from hei 
Diother to go back to camp. As Mr. Glover and Mr. 
17 



2. r >8 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Mootrey were taking the children back, she told them 
that she was willing to go back and take care of her 
little brother, but that she "should never see her 
mother again."* 

Messrs. Glover and Mootrey returned after the 
party had encamped ; but they carefully concealed 
from Mrs. Reed the fact that Brinn and his wife abso- 
lutely refused to permit the children to come into the 
cabin until many promises of immediate succor were 
made. On the return, the party was exposed to great 
privation. The cache of provisions was found to have 
been completely destroyed by a cougar. John Denton 
perished of cold. But a little additional provision 
was brought by two men from the settlements. Mrs. 
Reed met her husband, who had been driven from the 
party, for some oifence, before its disasters began, and 
who had never expected to see his wife again. Glover's 
party then proceeded in safety to the settlements, 
where the suffering emigrants were well provided. 

Messrs. Reed and M'Cutchen next headed a party 
that proceeded to the Mountain Camp, with supplies. 
Mr. Reed found his children alive, but undergoing 
dreadful sufferings. In some of the cabins, particu- 
larly that of Lewis Kiesburg, parts of human bodies 
were found prepared for eating, and there were also 
Been the traces of many a horrid feast. Mr. Reed 
commenced his return to the settlements, with seven 
teen of the unhappy beings who had wintered in 

* u Oregon arfd California," by Thornton. 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 259 

the camp. During the journey, hardships and pri- 
vations were endured, to which the journey of Mr. 
Eddy's party alone could furnish a parallel. 

The persons taken under Mr. Reed's guidance were 
Patrick Brinn, wife, and five children ; Mrs. Graves 
and four children ; Mary and Isaac Donner, children 
of Jacob Donner ; Solomon Hook, a step-son of Jacob 
Donner, and two of his children. They reached the 
foot of the mountain without much difficulty ; but they 
ascertained that their provisions would not last them 
more than a day and a half. Mr. Reed then sent 
three men forward with instructions to get supplies at 
a cache about fifteen miles from the camp. The party 
resumed its journey, crossed the Sierra Nevada, and 
after travelling about ten miles, encamped on a bleak 
point, on the north side of a little valley, near the 
head of the Yuba river. A storm set in, and con- 
tinued for two days and three nights. On the morn- 
ing of the third day, the clouds broke away, and the 
weather became more intensely cold than it had been 
during the journey. The sufferings of the emigrants 
in their bleak camp were too dreadful to be described. 
There was the greatest difficulty in keeping up a fire, 
and, during the night, the women and children who 
had on very thin clothing, were in great danger of 
freezing to death. When the storm passed away, 
the whole party were very weak, having been t\vo 
days without taking food. None were able to travel 
except Solomon Hook and Patriok Brinn an.l f.unily. 



200 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

The latter said they would remain in camp, with the 
disabled ones ; and Mr. Reed, with his California 
friends, his two children, Solomon Hook, and a Mr. 
Miller, pressed forward for supplies. Patty, Mr. 
Reed's daughter, displayed wonderful powers of en- 
durance during the first day of the journey, and fre- 
quently encouraged the men by her remarks. At 
night, the party was joined by Messrs. Stone and 
Cady, from the Mountain Camp. The next day, after 
proceeding a short distance, Mr. Reed found a small 
supply of food that had been left by the first party 
sent back to the cache for provisions. This was timely, 
as Mr. Reed and his companions had been four days 
without food. Pressing forward, they soon succeeded 
in reaching the settlements. 

Patrick Brinn and the others left by Mr. Reed, were 
not relieved until Messrs. Eddy and Foster led an ex- 
pedition from the settlements to their camp. A shocking 
spectacle was presented to the eyes of the adventurers 
at what they appropriately called the " Starved 
Camp." Patrick Brinn and his wife were found 
sunning themselves, and apparently unconcerned. 
They had consumed the two children of Jacob Donner. 
Mrs. Graves's body was lying there with almost all 
the flesh cut away from her arms and limbs. Her 
breasts, heart, and liver, were then being boiled on 
the fire. Her child sat by the side of the mangled 
remains, crying bitterly. After these emigrants had 
been supplied with food, they were left to be ecu 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 261 

ducted to the settlements by three men, while Messrs 
Eddy and Foster went on to the horrible Mountain 
Camp. There mangled remains of bodies were found, 
strewed about the cabins, and among them sat tho 
emaciated survivors, who had fed upon human flesh, 
and who then resembled demons. Kiesburg had de- 
voured Mr. Eddy's child, even when other food was to 
be obtained, and the enraged father was with difficulty 
restrained from killing him upon the spot. 

The party of Messrs. Eddy and Foster, upon their 
arrival at the Mountain Camp, found five living child- 
ren, to wit ; three of George Donner's, one of Jacob 
Donner's, and one of Mrs. Murphy's. They also 
found a man whose name is Clarke. He was a shoe- 
maker. 

Clarke had gone out with Mr. Reed, under the pre- 
tence of assisting emigi-ants. He was found with a 
pack of goods upon his back, weighing about forty- 
pounds, and also two guns, about to set off with his 
booty. This man actually carried away this property 
which weighed more than did a child he left behind to 
perish. But this is not the only instance of the pro- 
perty of emigrants in 'distress being appropriated 
under some pretence, or directly stolen by thieves 
who prowled about the .camp. 

In addition to these, there were in camp, Mrs. Mur- 
phy, Mr. and Mrs. Donner, and Kiesburg the latter, 
it was believed, having far more strength to trave 1 
, than others who had arrived in the settlements. But 



262 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

he would not travel, for the reason, as was suspected, 
that he wished to remain behind for the purpose of 
obtaining the property and money of the dead. 

Mrs. George Donner was in good health, was some- 
what corpulent, and certainly able to travel. But her 
husband was in a helpless condition, and she would 
not consent to leave him while he survived. She ex- 
pressed her solemn and unalterable purpose, which no 
danger and peril could change, to remain, and perform 
for him the last sad offices of duty and affection. She 
manifested, however, the greatest solicitude for her 
children ; and informed Mr. Eddy that she had fifteen 
hundred dollars in silver, all of which she would give 
to him, if he would save the lives of the children. He 
informed her that he would not carry out one hundred 
dollars for all that she had, but that he would save 
the children, or perish in the attempt. 

The party had no provisions to leave for the suste- 
nance of these unhappy and unfortunate beings. After 
remaining about two hours, Mr. Eddy informed Mrs. 
Donner that he was constrained by the force of cir- 
cumstances to depart. It was certain that George 
Donner would nev^ rise from the miserable bed 
upon which he had lain down, worn out by toil, and 
wasted by famine. It was next to absolutely certain, 
if Mrs. Donner did not leave her husband, and avail 
herself of the opportunity then presented for being 
conducted into the settlement, that she would perish 
by famine, or die a violent death at the hands of a 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 208 

cannibal. The instinct of a mother strongly urged 
her to accompany her children, that she might be able 
to contribute her own personal efforts and attention to 
save the lives of her offspring. The natural love of 
life, too, was without doubt then felt, urging her to 
fly from a scene of so many horrors and dangers. Her 
reison may have asked the question, " Why remain 
in the midst of so much peril, and encounter an ine- 
vitable death a death of all others the most terrible 
since it is certain that nothing can rescue your hus- 
band from the jaws of the all-devouring grave ? and 
when you cannot hope to do better than beguile, with 
your society, presence, and converse, the solitude of 
the few hours that remain of a life, the flame of which 
is absolutely flickering, and must in a very brief pe- 
riod be extinguished in the darkness and gloom of 
death ?" 

A woman was probably never before placed in cir- 
cumstances of greater and more peculiar trial ; but 
her duty and affection as a wife triumphed over all 
her instincts and her reason. And when her husband 
entreated her to save her life and leave him to die 
alone, assuring her that she could be of no service to 
him, since he would not probably survive, under any 
circumstances, until the next morning, she bent over 
him, and with streaming eyes kissed his pale, emaciated, 
haggard, and even then, death-stricken cheeks, and 
gaid: 

" No ! no ! dear husband, I will remain with you 



20-1 HEROIC WOMEN OF IIIE WEST. 

and here perish, rather than leave you to die alone 
vith no one to soothe your dying sorrows, and to close 
your eyes when dead. Entreat me not to leave you. 
Life, accompanied with the reflection that I had thus 
left you, would possess for me more than the bitter- 
ness of death ; and death would be sweet with the 
thought, in my last moments, that I had assuaged one 
pang of yours in your passage into eternity. No ! 
no ! this once, dear husband, I will disobey you ! No ! 
no ! no !" she continued sobbing convulsively. 

The parting scene between the parents and children 
is represented as being one that will never be forgotten, 
as long as reason remains, or memory performs its 
functions. My own emotions will not permit me to 
attempt a description, which language, indeed, has 
not the power to delineate. It is sufficient to say that 
it was affecting beyond measure ; and that the last 
words uttered byJMrs. Donner, in tears and sobs, to 
Mr. Eddy, were, " 0, save! save my children !" 

Mr. Eddy carried Georgiana Donner, who was about 
six years old ; Hiram Miller carried Eliza Donner, 
about four years old ; Mr. Thompson carried Frances 
Ann Donner, about eight years old ; William Foster 
carried Simon Murphy, eight years old ; and Clarke 
carried his booty, and left a child of one of the Donnera 
to perish. 

After much toil and privation, this party reached 
the settlements of California. The last of the sur- 
vivors of the Mountain Camp having been taken to 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 2G5 

Bear river valley. The following was the result of 
the inquiry as to those who perished and those who 
were saved. 

Those who perished were : C. F. Stanton ; Mr. 
Graves ; Mrs. Graves ; Franklin Graves ; Jay Fos- 
dick ; John Denton ; George Donner ; Mrs. Donner, 
his wife ; Jacob Donner ; Betsy Donner ; Isaac Don- 
ner ; Louis Donner ; Samuel Donner ; Charles Burger ; 
Joseph Rianhart ; Augustus Spitzer ; Samuel Shoe- 
maker ; James Smith ; Baylis Williams ; Bertha 
Kiesburg ; Lewis Kiesburg ; Mrs. Murphy ; Lemuel 
Murphy ; Lanthron Murphy ; George Foster ; Catha- 
rine Pike ; Eleanor Eddy ; Margaret Eddy ; James 
Eddy ; Patrick Dolan ; Milton Elliot ; Lewis and Sal- 
vadore, Captain Sutler's vaqueros. In all (including 
two who died before reaching the Mountain Camp) 36. 

The following survived : William Graves ; Mary 
Graves ; Ellen Graves ; Viney Graves ; Nancy Graves ; 
Jonathan Graves ; Elizabeth Graves ; Sarah Fosdick ; 
Loithy Donner ; Leon Donner ; Francis Donner ; 
Georgiana Donner ; Eliza Donner ; George Donner, 
jr.; Mary Donner ; John Baptiste ; Solomon Hook; 
Mrs. Wolfinger ; Lewis Kiesburg ; Mrs. Kiesburg ; 
William Foster ; Sarah Foster ; Simon Murphy ; Mary 
Murphy ; Harriet Pike; Miriam Pike; Patrick Brinn , 
Margaret Brinn ; John Brinn; Edward Brinn; Pat- 
rick Brinn, jr.; Simon Brinn ; James Brinn ; Peter 
Brinn ; Isabella Brinn ; Eliza Williams ; Noah 
James ; James F. Reed ; Virginia Reed ; Patty Reed ; 



266 HEROIC WOMEN Oi' THE IVEsT. 

James Reed ; Thomas Reed ; William II. Eddy. In 
all, 44. 

Some of the unfortunate sufferers entirely lost their 
reason. Of this number was Patrick Dolan at the 
Camp of Death. His words were vague and uncon- 
nected. He struggled until he got out from under 
the blankets. He called to Mr. Eddy, saying that he 
was the only person of their number who could be de- 
pended upon. He then pulled off his boots, and, di- 
vesting himself of nearly all his clothing, he bade Mr. 
Eddy follow him, and said that he would be in the 
settlements in a few hours. He was with great diffi- 
culty brought under the blankets, and held there until 
at length he became as quiet and submissive as a child; 
when he soon fell asleep, and expired. Lanthron 
Murphy was of this number also. Mr. Foster was 
likewise insane ; but his insanity was of a totally dif- 
ferent character. He, in a considerable degree, rea- 
lized his situation, and in some respect was capable 
of reasoning from cause to effect. Mr. Eddy wag 
probably the only really sane one of that party of 
sixteen. With but few exceptions, all the sufferers, 
both those who perished and those who survived, 
manifested the same species of insanity as did Mr. 
Foster. 

Throughout the horrible scenes of this disastrous 
expedition, the courage, devotion, and fortitude of 
woman were gloriously illustrated. Amidst events 
almost too frightful for thought, the wife was found 



WONDERFUL FORTITUDE OF FEMALE EMIGRANTS. 267 

ready to sacrifice herself for her husband, and the 
mother for her children. When the stoutest hearts 
among the men sank under accumulating miseries, 
women preserved an unmurmuring calmness, and an 
unflinching energy. The genuine strength of human, 
creatures the power of soul over body was there 
shown to be possessed in a greater degree by woman 
than man and amid the savage winter of the wilder- 
ness, among horrid feasts, when to save themselves 
from death, men became brutes, woman's true nobility 
shone forth in all its splendor. The record of this 
expedition will always have a thrilling interest on 
account of the startling incidents ; but as a memorial 
of what woman may endure and accomplish, it will 
be more valuable. 



MISS WASHBURff. 

IN the following thrilling adventure of two $cor.ts, 
a part was performed by a young girl, which did high 
honor to her spirit and resolution. 

As early as the year 1790, the block-house and 
stockade, above the mouth of the Hockhocking river, 
was a frontier post for the hardy pioneers of that por- 
tion of the state from the Hockhocking to the Scioto, 
and from the Ohio to our northern Lakes. Then na- 
ture wore her undisturbed livery of dark and thick 
forests, interspersed with green and flowery prairies. 
Then the axe of the woodman had not been heard in 
the wilderness, nor the plough of the husbandman 
marred the business of the green prairies. Among the 
many rich and luxuriant valleys that of Hockhocking 
was pre-eminent for nature's richest gifts and the 
portion of it whereon Lancaster now stands, was marked 
as the most luxuriant and picturesque, and became the 
seat of an Indian village, at a period so early, that the 
"memory of man runneth not parallel thereto." On 
the green sward of the prairie was held many a rude 
268 



MISS WASHBURN 269 

gambol of the Indians ; and here too, was many an 
assemblage of the warriors of one of the most powerful 
tribes, taking counsel for a "war path" upon some 
weak or defenceless frontier post. Upon one of these 
war-stirring occasions, intelligence reached the little 
garrison above the mouth of the Hockhocking, that the 
Indians were gathering in force somewhere up the 
valley, for the purpose of striking a terrible and fatal 
blow on one of the few and scattered defences of the 
whites: A council was held by thegarrison, and scouts 
were sent up the Hockhocking, in order to ascertain 
the strength of the foe, and the probable point of at- 
tack. In the month of October, and on one of the 
balmiest days of our Indian summer, two men could 
have been seen emerging out of the thick plumb and 
hazel bushes skirting the prairie, and stealthily climbing 
the eastern declivity of that most remarkable promon- 
tory, now known as Mount Pleasant, whose western 
summit gives a commanding view to the eye of what is 
doing on the prairie. This eminence was gained by our 
two adventurous and hardy scouts, and from this point 
they carefully observerl the movements taking place 
on the prairie. Every day brought an accession of 
warriors to those already assembled, and every day the 
scouts witnessed from their eyrie, the horse-racing, 
leaping, running and throwing the deadly tomahawk 
by the warriors. The old sachems looking on with 
indifference the squaws, for the most part, engaged 
in their usual drudgeries, and the papooses manifesting 



270 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

all the noisy and wayward joy of childhood. The ar 
rival of any new party of warriors was hailed by the 
terrible war-whoop, which striking the mural face of 
Mount Pleasant, was driven back into the various in- 
dentations of the surrounding hills, producing rever- 
beration on reverberation, and echo on echo, till it 
[seemed as if ten thousand fiends were gathered in their 
orgies. Such yells might well strike terror into the 
bosoms of those unaccustomed to them. To our scouts 
these were but martial music strains which waked their 
watchfulness, and strung their iron frames. From 
their early youth had they been always on the frontier, 
and therefore well practised in all the subtlety, craft 
and cunning, as well as knowing the ferocity and blood- 
thirsty perseverance of the savage. They were there- 
fore not likely to be circumvented by the cunning of 
their foes ; and without a desperate struggle, would 
not fall victims to the scalping-knife. 

On several occasions, small parties of warriors left 
the prairies and ascended the Mount ; at which times 
the scouts would hide in the fissures of the rocks, or 
lying by the side of some long, prostrate tree, cover 
themselves with the sear and yellow leaf, and again 
leave their hiding-places when their uninvited visitors 
had disappeared. For food they depended on jerked 
venison, and cold corn bread, with which their knap- 
sacks had been well stored. Fire they dared not kindle, 
and the report of one of their rifles would bring upon 
them the entire force of the Indians. For drink thej 



MISS WASIIBTJRN. 271 

depended on some rain water, which still stood in ex- 
cavations of the rocks, hut in a few days this stock 
was exhausted, and M'Clelland and White must aban- 
don their enterprise, or find a new supply. To ac- 
complish this hazardous affair, M'Clelland heing the 
elder, resolved to make the attempt with his trusty 
rifle in his grasp, and two canteens strung across his 
shoulders, he cautiously descended to the prairie, and 
skirting the hills on the north as much as possible 
within the hazle thickets, he struck a course for the 
Hockhocking river. He reached its margin, and turn- 
ing an abrupt point of a hill, he found a beautiful 
fountain of limpid water, now known as the Cold 
Spring, within a few feet of the river. He filled his 
canteens and returned in safety to his watchful com- 
panion. It was now determined to have a fresh supply 
of water every day, and this duty was to be performed 
alternately. 

On one of these occasions, after White had filled 
his canteens, he sat a few moments watching the limpid 
element, as it came gurgling out of the bosom of the 
earth the light sound of footsteps caught his prac- 
tised ear, and, upon turning round, he saw two squaws 
within a few feet of him ; these upon turning the jet 
of the hill had thus suddenly come upon him. The 
elder squaw gave one of those far-reaching whoops 
peculiar to the Indians. White at once comprehended 
his perilous situation for if the alarm should reach 
tne camp, he and his companion must inevitably perish 



272 IIEftOIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Self-preservation impelled him to inflict a noiseles,. 
death upon the squaws,, and in such a manner as to 
leave no trace behind. Ever rapid in thought, and 
prompt in action, he sprang upon his victims with the 
rapidity and power of a panther, and grasping the 
throat of each, with one bound he sprang into the 
Ilockhocking, and rapidly thrust the head of the elder 
squaw under the water, and making strong efforts to 
submerge the younger, who, however, powerfully re- 
sisted. During the short struggle, the younger female 
addressed him in his own language, though almost in 
inarticulate sounds. Releasing his hold, she informed 
him, that ten years before, she had been made a pri- 
soner on Grave Creek flats, and that the Indians, in 
her presence, butchered her mother and two sisters, 
and that an only remaining brother had been captured 
with her, who succeeded on the second night in making 
his escape ; but what had become of him she knew not. 
During the narrative, White, unobserved by the girl, 
had let go his grasp on the elder squaw, whose body 
floated where it would not, probably, soon be found. 
He now directed the girl hastily to follow him, and 
with his usual energy and speed, pushed for the Mount. 
They had scarcely gone two hundred yards from the 
spring, before the alarm cry was heard some quarter 
of a mile down the stream. It was supposed that somo 
warriors returning from a hunt, struck the Ilockbock 
ing just as the body of the drowned squaw floated past. 
White and the girl succeeded in reaching the Mount, 



MISS AVASHBUKN. 273 

where Mr. M' Clelland had been no indifferent spec- 
tator to the sudden commotion among the Indians, as 
the practising parties of warriors were seen to strike off 
in every direction, and before White and the girl had 
arrived, a party of some twenty warriors had already 
gained the eastern acclivity of the Mount, and were 
cautiously ascending, carefully keeping under cover. 
Soon the two scouts saw the swarthy faces of the foe, 
as they glided from tree to tree, and rock to rock, 
until the whole of the rock was surrounded, and all 
hope of escape cut off. 

In this peril nothing was left, other than to sell their 
lives as dearly as they could ; this they resolved to do, 
and advised the girl to escape to the Indians, and tell 
them she had been a captive to the scouts. She said, 
"no ! death, and that in presence of my people, is to me 
a thousand times sweeter than captivity furnish me 
with a rifle, and I will show you that I can fight as well 
as die. This spot I leave not ! here my bones shall 
lie bleaching with yours ! and should either of you 'es- 
cape, you will carry the tidings of my death to my re- 
maining relatives." Remonstrance proved fruitless ; 
the two scouts matured their plans for a vigorous de- 
fence opposi^craft to craft, expedient to expedient, 
and an uneKra^ire of the deadly rifle. The attack 
now commenced, in front, where, from the narrow 
back bone of the Mount, the savages had to advance 
in single file, but where they could avail themselves of 
the rock and trees. In advancing the warrioi must 
18 



274 HEROIC WOMEN OF TIIE WEST. 

be momentarily exposed, and two hare inches of his 
Bwarthy form was target enough for the unerring rifle 
of the scouts. After bravely maintaining the fight in 
front, and keeping the enemy in check, they discovered 
a new danger threatening them. The wary foe now 
made every preparation to attack them in flank, which 
could be most successively and fatally doi e by reach- 
ing an insulated rock lying in one of the ravines on 
the southern hill side. This rock once gained by the 
Indians, they could bring the scouts under point blank 
shot of the rifle ; and without the possibility of escape. 
Our brave scouts saw the hopelessness of their situ- 
ation, which nothing could avert but brave companions 
and an unerring shot them they had not. But the 
brave never despair. With this certain fate resting 
upon them, they had continued as calm, and as calcu- 
lating, and as unwearied as the strongest desire of 
vengeance on a treacherous foe could produce. Soon 
M'Clelland saw a tall and swarthy figure preparing 
to spring from a cover so near the fatal rock, that a 
single bound must reach it, and all hope be destroyed. 
He felt that all depended on one advantageous shot, 
although but one inch of the warrior's body was ex- 
posed, and that at a distance of one J|dred yards 
he resolved to risk all coolly he raised his rifle to 
his eye, carefully shading the sight with his hand, he 
drew a bead so sure, that he felt conscious it would 
do he touched the hair trigger with his finger the 
bammer came down, but in place of striking fire, i* 



*IISS WASHBURN. 275 

crushed his flint into a hundred fragments ' Although 
he felt that the savage must reach the fatal lock be- 
fore he could adjust another flint, he proceeded to the 
task with the utmost composure, casting many a fur- 
tive glance towards the fearful point. Suddenly he 
Baw the warrior stretching every muscle for the leap 
and with the agility of a deer he made the spring 
instead of reaching the rock he sprung ten feet in the 
air, and giving one terrific yell he fell upon the earth 
and his dark corpse rolled fifty feet down the hill. He 
had evidently received a death shot from some unknown 
hand. A hundred voices from below re-echoed the 
terrible shout, and it was evident that they had lost a 
favorite warrior, as well as been foiled for a time in 
their most important movement. A very few moments 
proved that the advantage so mysteriously gained would 
be of short duration ; for already the scouts caught a 
momentary glimpse of a swarthy warrior, cautiously 
advancing towards the cover so recently occupied by 
a fellow companion. Now, too, the attack in front was 
resumed with increased fury, so as to require the in- 
cessant fire of both scouts, to prevent the Indians from 
gaining the eminence and in a short time M'Clelland 
saw the wary^iarrior turning a somerset, his corpse 
rolled down towards his companion : again a myste- 
rious agent had interposed in their behalf. This second 
sacrifice cast dismay into the ranks of the assailants 
and just as the sun was disappearing behind the western 
hills, the foe withdrew a short distance, for the pur- 



276 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

pose of devising new modes of attack. The respite 
came most seasonably to the scouts, who had bravely 
kept their position, and boldly maintained the unequal 
fight from the middle of the day. 

Now, for the first time was the girl missing, and tha 
scouts supposed that through terror she had escaped 
to her former captors, or that she had been killed 
during the fight. They were not long left to doubt, 
for in a few moments the girl was seen emerging from 
the rock and coming to them with a rifle in her hand. 
During the heat of the fight she saw a warrior fall, 
who had advanced some fifty yards before the main 
body in front. She at once resolved to possess her- 
self of his rifle, and crouching in undergrowth she 
crept to the spot, and succeeded in her enterprise, be- 
ing all the time exposed to the cross fire of the de- 
fenders and assailants her practised eye had early 
noticed the fatal rock, and hers was the mysterious 
hand by which the two warriors had fallen the last 
being the most wary, untiring and|blood thirsty brave 
of the Shawanese tribe. He it was, who ten years 
before had scalped the family of the girl, and had 
been her captor. In the west dark clouds were gather- 
ing, and in an hour the whole heavens were shrouded 
in them; this darkness greatly embarassed the scouts in 
their contemplated night retreat, for they might 
readily lose their way, or accidentally fall on the 
enemy this being highly probable, if not inevitable. 
An hour's consultation decided their plans, and it 



MISS WASHBURN. 277 

was agreed that the girl, from her intimate knowledge 
of their localities, should lead the advance a few steps. 
Another advantage might be gained bj this arrange- 
ment, for in case they should fall in with some out-post, 
the girl's knowledge of the Indian tongue, would per- 
haps enable her to deceive the sentinel . and so tha 
sequel proved, for scarcely had they descended one 
hundred feet, when a low " whist" from the girl, 
warned them of present danger. The scouts sunk 
silently to the earth, where by previous agreement, they 
were to remain till another signal was given them by 
the girl, whose absence for more than a quarter of an 
hour now began to excite the most serious apprehen- 
sions. At length she again appeared, and told them 
that she had succeeded in removing two sentinels who 
were directly in their route to a point some hundred 
feet distant. The descent was noiselessly resumed 
the level gained, and the scouts followed their intrepid 
pioneer for half a mile in the most profound silence, 
when the barking of a small dog, within a few feet, 
apprised them of a new danger. The almost simulta- 
neous click of the scouts' rifles was heard by the girl, 
who rapidly approached them, and stated that they 
were now in the midst of the Indian wigwams, and 
their lives depended on the most profound silence, and 
implicitly following her footsteps. A mom< nt after- 
wavds, the girl was accosted by a squaw from an opei> 
ing in a wigwam. She replied in the Indian language ; 
and without stopping pressed forward. In a shor 4 



278 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

time she stopped and assured the scouts that the vil- 
lage was cleared, and that they were now in safety. 

She knew that every pass leading out of the prairie 
was safely guarded by Indians, and at once resolved 
to adopt the bold adventure of passing through the 
very centre of their village as the least hazardous. 
The result proved the correctness of her judgment. 
They now kept a course for the Ohio, being guided 
by the Ilockhocking river and after three days march 
and suffering, the party arrived at the block-house in 
safety. 

The courage, energy, and fortitude of the girl were 
nobly displayed throughout the perilous scenes of the 
fight and escape. She proved to be a sister of Neil 
Washburn,. one of the most renowned scouts upon the 
frontier. She possessed her brother's spirit in the 
delicate frame of a woman. 

The escape of the party from the Indians deranged 
the plan of attack upon the fort, and compelled the 
savages to return to their homes without having effected 
any thing of importance. 



THE HUNTER'S WIFE. 

THE following story appeared in " Chamber's Edin- 
burgh Journal," in June, 1851. We are ignorant of 
its original source. 

Tom Cooper was a fine specimen of the North 
American trapper. Slightly but powerfully made, 
with a hardy, weather-beaten, yet handsome face, 
strong, indefatigable, and a crack shot, he was admi- 
rably adapted for a hunter's life. For many years 
he knew not what it was to have a home, but lived 
like the beasts he hunted wandering from one part 
of the country to the other in pursuit of game. All 
who knew Tom were much surprised when he came, 
with a pretty young wife, to settle within three miles 
of a planter's farm. Many pitied the poor young cren- 
ture, who would have to lead such a solitary life ; 
whilst others said ; " If she was fool enough to marry 
him it was her own look-out." For nearly four mwnths 
Tom remained at home, and employed his time in 
making the old hut he had fixed on for their residence 

(279) 



280 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

more comfortable. lie cleared and tilled a small spot 
of land around it, and Susan began to hope that for 
her sake he would settle down quietly as a squatter. 
But these visions of happiness were soon dispelled, for 
as soon as this work was finished he recommenced his 
old erratic mode of life, and was often absent for week? 
together, leaving his wife alone, yet not unprotected, 
for since his marriage, old Nero, a favorite hound, 
was always left at home as her guardian. lie was a 
noble dog a cross between the old Scottish deer 
hound and the bloodhound and would hunt an In- 
dian as well as a deer or bear, which Tom said, "was 
a proof they Ingins was a sort o' varmint, or why 
should the brute beast take to hunt 'em, nat'ral like 
him that took no notice of white men T' 

One clear, cold morning, about two years after their 
marriage, Susan was awakened by a loud crash, im- 
mediately succeeded by Nero's deep baying. She 
recollected that she had shut him in the house as usual 
the night before. Supposing he had winded some 
solitary wolf or bear prowling around the hut, and 
eifected his escape, she took little notice of the cir- 
cumstance ; but a few moments after came a shrill, 
wild cry, which made her blood run cold. To spring 
from her bed, throw on her clothes, and rush from the 
hut, was the work of a minute. She no longer doubted 
what the hound was in pursuit of. Fearful thoughtl 
shot through her -brain ; she called wildly on Nero, 
and to her joy he came dashing through the thick mi 



HE HUNTER'S WIFE. 281 

denvood. As the dog drew near she saw that he gal- 
lopped heavily, and carried in his mouth some large 
dark creature. Her brain reeled ; she felt a" cold and 
sickly shudder dart through her limbs. But Susan 
was a hunter's daughter, and all her life had been 
accustomed to witness scenes of danger and of horror, 
and in this school had learned to subdue the natural 
timidity of her character. With a powerful effort she 
recovered herself, just as Nero dropped at her feet 
a little Indian child, apparently between three and 
four years old. She bent down over him, but there 
was no sound or motion ; she placed her hand on his 
little naked chest ; the heart within had ceased to beat, 
he was dead ! The deep marks of the dog's fangs 
were visible on the neck, but the body was untorn. 
Old Nero stood with his large bright eyes fixed on the 
face of his mistress, fawning on her, as if he expected 
to be praised for what he had done, and seemed to 
wonder why she looked so terrified. But Susan 
spurned him from her ; and the fierce animal, who 
would have pulled down an Indian as he would a deer, 
crouched humbly at the young woman's feet. Susan 
carried the little body gently to the hut, and laid it 
on her own bed. Her first impulse was to seize a 
loaded rifle that hung over the fireplace, and shoot the 
hound ; and yet she felt she could not do it, for in 
the lone life she led, the faithful animal seemed like a 
dear and valued friend, who loved and watched over 
her, as if aware of the precious charge entrusted to 



2S2 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

him. She thought also of what her husband would 
say, when on his return he should find his old com- 
panion dead. Susan had never seen Tom roused. To 
her he had ever shown nothing but kindness ; yet she 
feared as well as loved him, for there was a fire in 
those dark eyes which told of deep, wild passions hid- 
den in his breast, and she knew that the lives of a 
whole tribe of Indians would be light in the balance 
against that of his favorite hound. 

Having securely fastened up Nero, Susan, with a 
heavy heart, proceeded to examine the ground around 
the hut. In several places she observed the impression 
of a small moccasoned foot, but not a child's. The 
tracks were deeply marked, unlike the usual light, 
elastic tread of an Indian. From this circumstance, 
Susan easily inferred that the woman had been carry- 
ing her child when attacked by the dog. There was 
nothing to show why she had come so near the hut ; 
most probably the hopes of some petty plunder had 
been the inducement. Susan did not dare to wander 
far from home, fearing a band of Indians might be in 
the neighborhood. She returned sorrowfully to the 
hut, and employed herself in blocking up the window, 
or rather the hole where the window had been, for 
the powerful hound had in his leap dashed out the 
entire frame, and shattered it to pieces. When this was 
finished, Susan dug a grave, and in it laid the little 
Indian boy. She made it close to the hut, for she 
could not bear that wolves should devour those deli- 



THE HUNTER'S WIFE. 283 

cate limbs, and she knew there it would be safe. The 
next day Tom returned. He had been very unsuc- 
cessful, and intended setting out again in a few days 
in a different direction. 

" Susan," he said, when he had heard her sad story, 
" I wish you'd lef the child where the dog killed him. 
The squaw's high sartan to come back a-seekin' for 
the body, and 'tis a pity the poor crittur should be 
disapintcd. Besides, the Ingins will be high s"artan 
to put it down to us ; whereas if so be as they'd found 
the body, 'pon the spot, maybe they'd onderstand 
as 'twas an accident like, for they're unkimmon 
cunning warmints, though they a'nt got sense like 
Christians." 

" Why do you think the poor woman came here ?" 
said Susan. " I never knew an Indian squaw so near 
the hut before." 

She fancied a dark shadow flitted across her hus- 
band's brow. He made no reply ; and on her repeat- 
ing the question, said angrily how should he know ? 
'Twas as well to ask for a bear's reasons as an Ingin's. 

Tom only stayed at home long enough to mend the 
broken window, and planl a small spot of Indian corn, 
and then again set out, telling Susan not to expect 
him home in less than a month. " If that squaw comes 
this way agin," he said, " as maybe she will, ji>st put 
any broken victuals you've a-got, for the poor crittur ; 
though maybe she wont come, for they Ingins be on 
kimmon skeary." Susan wondered at his taking au 



284 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

interest in the -woman, and often thought of that <l;uk 
look she had noticed, and Tom's unwillingness to speak 
on the subject. She never knew that on his last hunting 
expedition, when hiding some skins which he intended 
to fetch on his return, he had observed an Indian 
watching him, and had shot him with as little mercy 
as he would have shown a wolf. On Tom's return to 
the spot, the body was gone ; and in the soft damp 
soil was the mark of an Indian squaw's foot, and by 
its side a little child's. He was sorry then for the 
deed he had done ; he thought of the grief of the poor 
widow, and how it would be possible for her to live 
until she could reach her tribe, who were far, far dis- 
tant, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains ; and now to 
feel that through his means, too, she had lost her child, 
put thoughts into his mind that had never before found 
a place there. He thought that one God had fonnc'd 
the Red Man as well as the White of the souls of 
the many Indians hurried into eternity by hisunening 
rifle ; and they perhaps were more fitted for their 
" happy hunting-grounds" than he was for the white 
man's heaven. In this state of mind, every word his 
wife had said to him seemed to him a reproach, and 
he was glad again to be alone in the forest with his 
rifle and his hounds. 

The afternoon of the third day after Tom's depar- 
ture, as Susan was sitting at work, she heard some- 
thing scratching and whining at the door. Nero, who 
was by her side, evinced no sign of anger, but ran to 



THE HUNTER'S WIFE. 285 

the door, showing his white teeth, as was- his custom 
when pleased. Susan unbarred it, when to her asto- 
nishment, the two deerhounds her husband had taken 
with him walked into the hut, looking weary and soiled. 
At first she thought Tom might have killed a deer not 
far from home, and had brought her a fresh supply of 
venison ; but no one was there. She rushed from the 
hut, and soon, breathless and terrified, reached the 
squatter's cabin. John Wilton and his three sons 
were just returned from the clearings, when Susan 
ran into their comfortable kitchen ; her long black 
hair streaming on her shoulders, and her wild and 
bloodshot eyes, gave her the appearance of a maniac. 
In a few unconnected words, she explained to them 
the cause of her terror, and implored them to set off 
immediately in search of her husband. It was in vain 
they told her of the uselessness of going at that time 
of the impossibility of following a trail in the dark. 
She said she would go herself; she felt sure of finding 
him ; and at last they were obliged to use force to 
prevent her leaving the house. 

The next morning at daybreak, Wilton and his two 
sons were mounted, and ready to set out, intending 
to take Nero with them ; but nothing could induce him 
to leave his mistress ; he resisted passively for some 
time, until one of the young men attempted to pass a 
rope round his neck, to drag him away : then his for- 
bearance vanished ; he sprung on his tormentor, threw 
him r 1 vvn, and would have strangled him, if Susaii 



286 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

hud not been present. Finding it impossible to make 
Nero accompany them, they left without him, but had 
not proceeded many miles before he and his mistress 
were at their side. They begged Susan to return, 
told her of the hardships she must endure, and of the 
inconvenienoe she would be to them. It was of no 
avail ; she had but one answer : "I am a hunter's 
wife, and a hunter's daughter." She told them that 
knowing how useful Nero would be to them in their 
search, she had secretly taken a horse and followed 
them. 

The party first rode to Tom Cooper's hut, and there 
having dismounted, leading their horses through the 
forest, followed the trail, as only men long accustomed 
to a savage life can do. At night they lay on the 
ground, covered with their thick bear-skin cloaks ; 
for Susan only they heaped up a bed of dry leaves ; 
but she refused to occupy it, saying it was her duty 
to bear the same hardships they did. Ever ^ince their 
departure she had shown no sign of sorrow. Although 
slight and delicately formed, she never appeared fa- 
tigued ; her whole soul was absorbed in one longing 
desire to find her husband's body ; for from the first 
she had abandoned the hope of ever again seeing him 
in life. This desire supported her through every thing. 
Early the next morning they were again on the trail. 
About noon, as they were crossing a small brook, the 
hound suddenly dashed away from, and was lost in 
ihe thicket. At first they fancied they might have 



THE HUNTER'S WIFE. 287 

crossed the track of a deer or wolf; but a long mourn- 
ful howl soon told the sad truth, for not far from the 
brook lay the faithful dog on the body of his master, 
which was pierced to the heart by an Indian arrow. 

The murderer had apparently been afraid to ap- 
proach on account of the dogs, for the body was left 
as it had fallen not even the rifle was gone. No 
si<rn of Indians could be discovered save one small 

o 

footprint, which was instantly pronounced to be that 
of a squaw. Susan showed no grief at the sight of 
the body ; she maintained the same forced calmness, 
and seemed comforted that it was found. Old Wilton 
stayed with her to remove all that now remained of 
her darling husband, and his two sons again set out 
on the trail, which soon led them into the open prairie, 
where it was easily traced through the tall thick grass. 
They continued riding that afternoon, and the next 
morning were again on the track, which they followed 
to the banks of a wide but shallow stream. There they 
saw the remains of a fire. One of them thrust his hand 
in the ashes, which were still warm. They crossed the 
river, and in the soft sand on the opposite bank saw 
again the print of a small moccasoned footsteps. Here 
they were at a loss ; for the rank prairie grass had 
been consumed by one of those fearful fires so common 
in the prairies, and in its stead grew short sweet 
herbage, where even an Indian's eye could observe no 
trace. They were on the point of abandoning the 
pursuit, when Richard, the younger of the two, called 



288 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

his brother's attention to Nero, who had of his own 
accord left his mistress to accompany them, as if ho 
now understood what they were ahout. The hound 
was trotting to and fro, with his nose to the ground, 
as if endeavoring to pick out a cold scent. Edward 
laughed at his brother, and pointed to the track of a 
deer that had come to drink at the river. At last he 
agreed to follow Nero, who was now cantering slowly 
across the prairie. The pace gradually increased, 
until, on a spot where the grass had grown more luxu- 
riantly than elsewhere, Nero threw up his nose, gave 
a deep bay, and started off at a furious pace, that 
although well mounted, they had great difficulty in 
keeping up with him. 

It was not long before the dog brought them to the 
borders of another forest, where, finding it impossible 
to take their horses farther, they fastened them to a 
tree, and set off again on foot. They lost sight of the 
hound, but still from time to time they heard his loud 
baying far away. At last they fancied it sounded 
nearer instead of becoming less and distinct ; and 
of this they were soon convinced. They still went on 
in the direction whence the sound proceeded, until 
they saw Nero sitting with his forepaws .against the 
trunk of a tree, no longer mouthing like a well-trained 
hound, but yelling like a fury. They looked up in a 
tree, but could see nothing ; until at last Edward 
espied a large hollow about half way up the trunk. 
" I was right, you see," he said. " After all it is only 



THE HUNTER'S WIFE. 

a bear ; but we may as well shoot the brute that has 
given us so much trouble." 

They set to work immediately with their axes to 
fell the tree. It began to totter, when a dark object, 
they could not tell what in the dim twilight, crawled 
from its place of concealment to the extremity of a 
branch, and from thence sprung into the next tree. 
Snatching up their rifles, they both fired together ; 
when to their astonishment, instead of a bear, a young 
Indian squaw, with a loud yell, fell to the ground. 
They ran to the spot where she lay motionless, and 
carried her to the borders of the wood where they 
had that morning dismounted. Richard lifted her on 
his horse, and springing himself into the saddle, car- 
ried the almost lifeless body before him. The poor 
creature never spoke. Several times they stopped, 
thinking she was dead ; her pulse only told the spirit 
had not flown from its earthly tenement. When they 
reached the river which had been crossed by them 
before, they washed the wounds, and sprinkled water 
on her face. This appeared to revive her ; and when 
Richard again lifted her in his arms to place her on 
his horse, he fancied he" heard her utter in Iroquois, 
one word "revenged!" 

It was a strange sight, these two powerful men 
tending so carefully the being they had a few hours 
before sought to slay, and endeavoring to staunch the 
blood that flowed from the wound they had made ! 
Yet so it was. It would have appeared to them a 



1-90 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

sin to leave the Indian woman to die ; yet they f'l ( 
no r:morse at having inflicted the wound, and would 
have been better pleased had it been mortal ; but they 
would not have murdered a wounded enemy, even an 
Indian warrior, still less a squaw. The party con- 
tinued their journey until midnight when they stopped 
to rest their jaded horses. Having wrapped the squaw 
in their bear-skins, they lay down themselves with no 
covering save the clothes they wore. They were in 
no want of provisions, as not knowing when they might 
return, they had taken a good supply of bread and 
dried venison, not wishing to lose any precious time 
in seeking food whilst on the trail. The brandy, still 
remaining in their flasks, they preserved for the use 
of their captive. The evening of the following day 
they readied the trapper's hut, where they were not 
a little surprised to find Susan. She told them that 
although John Wilton had begged her to live with 
them, she could riot bear to leave the spot where every 
thing reminded her of one to think of whom was now 
her only consolation, and that whilst she had Xero, 
she feared nothing. They needed not to tell their 
mournful tale Susan already understood it but too 
clearly. She begged them to leave the Indian woman 
with her. " You have no one," she said, " to tend 
and watch her as I can do ; besides, it is not right 
that I should lay such a burden on you." Although 
unwilling to impose on her the painful task of nursing 
her husband's murderess, they could not but allow slm 



THE HUNTER S WIFE. 291 

was right ; and seeing now earnestly she desired it, at 
last consented to leave the Indian woman with her. 

For many long weeks, Susan nursed her charge as 
tenderly as if she had been her sister. At first she 
lay almost motionless, and rarely spoke ; then she grew 
delirious, and raved wildly. Susan, fortunately, ould 
not understand what she said, but often turned shud- 
deringly away, when the Indian woman would strive 
to rise from her bed, and move her arms as if drawing 
a bow ; or yell wildly, and cower in terror beneath 
the clothes, reacting in her delirium the fearful scenes 
through which she had passed. By degrees reason 
returned ; she gradually got better, but seemed rest- 
less and unhappy, and could not bear the sight of Ner'o. 
The first proof of returning reason she had shown 
was to shriek in terror when he once accidentally 
followed his mistress into the room where she lay. 
One morning Susan missed her ; she searched around 
the hut, but she was gone, without having taken fare- 
well of her kind benefactress. 

A few years after Susan Cooper (no longer " pretty 
Susan," for time and grief had done their work) heard 
late one night a hurried "knock, which was repeated 
several times before she could unfasten the door, each 
time more loudly than before. She called to ask who 
it was at that hour of the night. A few hurried words 
in Iroquois were the reply, and Susan congratulated 
herself on having spoken before unbarring the door, 
But on listening again, she distinctly heard the same 



292 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

voice say, " Quick quick !" and recognised it as the 
Indian woman's whom she had nursed. The door was 
instantly opened, when the squaw rushed into the hut, 
seized Susan by the arm, and made signs to her tc 
come away. She was too much excited to remember 
then the few words of English she had picked up when 
living with the white woman. Expressing her mean- 
ing by gestures with a clearness peculiar to the In- 
dians, she dragged rather than led Susan from the hut. 
They had just reached the edge of the forest when 
the wild yells of the Indians sounded in their ears. 
Having gone with Susan a little way into the forest 
her guide left her. For nearly four hours she lay there 
half-dead with cold and terror, not daring to move 
from her place of concealment. She saw the flames 
of the dwelling, where so many lonely hours had been 
passed, rising above the trees, and heard the shrill 
"whoops" of the retiring Indians. Nero, who was 
lying by her side, suddenly rose and gave a loud growl. 
Silently a dark figure came gliding among the trees 
directly to the spot where she lay. She gave her- 
self up for lost ; but it was the Indian woman who 
came to her, and dropped at her feet a bag of money, 
the remains of her late husband's savings. The grate- 
ful creature knew where it was kept ; and whilst the 
Indians were busied examining the rifles and other 
objects more interesting to them, had carried it off un- 
observed. Waving her arm around to show that all was 



THE HUNTER'S WIFE. 293 

now quiet, she pointed in the direction of Wilton's 
house, arid was again lost among the trees. 

Day was just breaking when Susan reached the 
squatter's cabin. Having heard the sad story, Wilton 
and two of his sons started immediately for the spot. 
Nothing was to be seen save a heap of ashes. The 
party had apparently consisted of only three or four 
Indians ; but a powerful tribe being in the neighbor- 
hood, they saw that it would be too hazardous to 
follow them. From this time Susan lived with the 
Wiltons. She was as a daughter to the old man, and 
a sister to his sons, who often said : " That, as far as 
they were concerned, the Indians had never done a 
kindlier action than in burning down Susan Cooper's 
hut." 



MRS. JORDAN'S CAPTIVITY. 

NARRATED BY HERSELF. 

" ON the night of 22d January, 1807, we we sud- 
denly awakened from slumber by the hideous yells of 
the savages, who, before we could put ourselves in a 
situation to oppose them, succeeded in forcing the 
doors of the house. They were, to the number of 
forty or fifty, frightfully painted, and armed with to- 
mahawks and scalping knives. My husband met them 
at the door, and in their own tongue asked them what 
they wanted " The scalps of your family !" was their 
answer. My husband entreated them to have compas- 
sion on me and his innocent children, but his entrea- 
ties availed nothing ; we were dragged naked out of 
the house, and tied severally with cords. By order 
of one, who appeared to be a chief, about twenty of 
the Indians took charge of us, who were ordered to 
conduct tfl with all possible dispatch to their settlement, 
about two hundred miles distant, while the remainder 
were left to pillage and fire the house. A\ r e commenced 
our journey about midnight, though an uncultivated 
(294)* 



MRS. JORDAN'S CAPTIVITY. 295 

wilderness, at the rate nearly seven miles an Hoar. If 
either of us, through fatigue, slacked our pace, we were 
most inhumanly beaten and threatened with instant 
death. 

" After a tedious travel of more than, forty miles, 
the savages halted in a swamp ; here for the first 
time, from the time of our departure, we were per- 
mitted to lie down the Indians kindled a fire, ou 
which they broiled some bear's flesh, of which they 
allowed us but a small portion. 

" After they had refreshed themselves and extin- 
guished the fire, we were again compelled to pursue 
our journey. We travelled until sunset, when the In- 
dians again halted a"nd began to prepare a covering 
for themselves for the night. My poor children com- 
plained much of their feet being swollen, but I was not 
permitted to give them any relief, nor was their father 
allowed to discourse with them. As night approached, 
we shook each other by the hand, expecting never 
again to witness- the rising of the sun. Contrary to 
our expectations, however, we had a tolerable night's 
rest, and on the succeeding day, though naked and 
half starved, travelled with much more ease than on the 
preceding one. The Indians occasionally allowed us a 
little raw food, sufficient only to keep us alive; we 
this day travelled, according to the reckoning of the 
Indians, nearly forty miles, and were, about sunset, 
joined by the remaining savages who were left behind ; 
fr'>ey were loaded with the spoils of my husband's pro 



20G HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

perty ; among other articles they had a keg of spirts 
of which they had drank plentifully, and as they be- 
came intoxicated, they exercised the more cruelty to- 
wards us they beat my poor children so unmercifully 
that they were unable to stand upon their feet the 
ensuing morning the Indians attributed their ina- 
bility to wilfulness, and again renewed their acts of 
barbarity, beating them with clubs, cutting and gash- 
ing them with their knives and scorching their naked 
bodies with brands of fire. Finding that their hellish 
plans had no other effect than to render the poor un- 
happy sufferers less able to travel, they came to the 
resolution to butcher them on the spot. 

u Six holes were dug in the earth, of about five feet 
in depth, around each of which some dried branches 
of trees were placed. My husband at this moment, 
filled with horror at what he expected was about to 
take place, broke the rope with which he was bound, 
and attempted to escape from the hands of the un- 
merciful cannibals he was, however, closely pursued, 
soon overtaken and brought back as he passed me, 
he cast his eyes towards me and fainted in this situa- 
tion he was placed erect in one of the holes. The 
woods now resounded with the heart-piercing cries of 
my poor children 'spare, spare my father,' was 
their cry 'have mercy on my poor children!' was 
the cry of their father ; but all availed nothing my 
dear children were all placed in a situation similar to 
that of their father the youngest (only nine years 



MRS. JORDAN'S CAPTIVITY. 297 

old) broke from them and ran up to me, crying, * don't 
mamma, mamma, don't let them kill me !' 

" Alas, Heavens, what could I do ? In vain did 
I beg of them to let me take my dear child's place ! 
by force it was torn from me. 

" Having placed the poor unfortunate victims in 
the manner above described, they secured them in a 
standing position by replacing the earth, which buried 
them nearly to their necks ! The inhuman wretches 
now began their hideous pow-wows, dancing to and 
fro around the victims of their torture, which they 
continued about a half an hour, when they communi- 
cated fire to the fatal piles ! As the flames increased, 
shrieks and dying groans of my poor family were the 
heightened ! thank heaven ! their sufferings was of 
short duration ; in less than a quarter of an hour from 
the time the fire was first communicated, their cries 
ceased, and they sunk into the arms of their kind 
deliverer. 

" The callous-hearted wretches having sufficiently 
feasted their eyes with the agonies of the unfortunate 
sufferers, retired to regale themselves with what liquor 
remained ; they drank freely, and soon became stupid 
and senseless. With one of their tomahawks I might 
with ease have dispatched them all, but my only de- 
sire" was to flee from them as quick as possible. I suc- 
ceeded with difficulty in liberating myself by cutting 
the cord with which I was bound, on which I bent my 
course for this place. A piece of bear's flesh, which 



298 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

I fortunately found in one of the Indian's packs, served 
me for food. I travelled only by night, in the day 
time concealing myself in the thick swamps or hollow 
trees. A party of Indians passed within a few rods 
of the place of my concealment the second day after 
my departure, but did not discover me ; they were 
undoubtedly of the same party from whom I had es- 
caped, in pursuit of me. Two days after, I was met 
by an Indian of the Shawanese without his assistance 
I must have again fallen into the hands of my foes." 



CAPTIVITY AND SUFFERINGS OF 
THE GILBERT FAMILY 

BENJAMIN GILBERT was the owner and occupier of a 
farm, situated on Mahoning creek, in Penn Township, 
Northampton county, Pennsylvania, not far from where 
Fort Allen was built. The improvements he had made, 
were such as were of great value in a new settlement. 
They were, besides a convenient log-house, and log- 
barn, a saw-mill and commodious stone grist-mill. 
But from this scene of comfort, the backwoodsman, 
with his family, was destined to be torn away ; and 
the improvements, erected at great cost, and with much - 
difficulty, upon the borders of the wilderness, were 
scarcely completed, when they were doomed to the 
flames. 

On the 25th day of April, 1780, about sunrise, the 
family were alarmed by a party of Indians, who came 
upon them so suddenly, that to have attempted to 
escape would have been useless. Their only chance 
of saving their lives was to surrender. Without re- 

(299) 



300 HEROIC WOMEN OP THE WEST. 

sistance they therefore gave themselves up to their 
savage foes, hoping, yet scarcely expecting, to escape 
from death by being carried off to endure the horrors 
of an Indian captivity. 

The Indians who made this incursion were of diffe- 
rent tribes, who had abandoned their country upon the 
approach of General Sullivan's army, and fled within 
command of the British forts in Canada, settling 
promiscuously within their neighborhood, and, accord- 
ing to Indian custom, carrying on war, frequently in- 
vading the frontier settlements, and taking captive the 
surprised and defenceless inhabitants. The present 
party consisted of two half-breeds, descended from a 
Mohawk and French woman, three Cayugas, one Del- 
aware, and five Senecas in all eleven. The two 
Mohawk half-breeds, whose names were Rowland 
Monteur and John Monteur, seemed to have command 
of the party. 

The prisoners taken at the house of Mr. Gilbert were, 
himself, his wife, his sons Joseph, Jesse and Abner, 
his daughters Rebecca and Elizabeth, his dau^hter-in- 

O f O 

law, Sarah Gilbert, wife of his son Jesse, Thomas 
Peart, a son of Mrs. Gilbert by a former husband, 
Benjamin Gilbert, jr., a grandson, Andrew Harrigar. 
a German laborer in the employment of Mr. Gilbert, 
and Abigail Dodson, a girl about fourteen years of 
age, who had been sent that morning by one of the 
neighbors with a grist to the mill. 

With these captives the Indians proceeded about 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBEKT FAMILY. 301 

half a mile to the house of Benjamin Peart, (another 
son of Mrs. Gilbert,) whom, with his wife and their 
child, about nine months old, they also captured. 

The prisoners were here bound with cords, and left 
under a guard for half an hour, during which time the 
rest of the Indians employed themselves in pillaging 
the house, and packing up such goods as they chose 
to carry off, until they had got together a sufficient 
loading for three horses, which they took. This com- 
pleted, they began their retreat, two of their number 
being detached to fire the buildings. From an emi- 
nence called Summer Hill, which they passed over, 
the captives could observe the flames and the falling 
in of the roofs of the houses. They cast back a sor- 
rowful look towards their dwellings, but were not per- 
mitted to stop until they had reached the further side 
of the hill, where the party sat down to make a short 
repast ; but grief prevented the prisoners from eating. 

The Indians speedily put forward again not being 
so far removed from the settlement as to be secure 
from pursuit. A little further on was a hill, called 
Machunk, where they halted nearly an hour, and 
prepared moccasons for some of the children. 

Resuming their journey, they passed over another 
steep hill, and in a short time they reached Broad 
Mountain, the prisoners wearied and almost exhausted. 
Mrs. Gilbert, who was nearly sixty years of age, be- 
lieving herself unable to make the ascent of this moun- 
tain on foot, sat down in weariness of body and in 
26 



302 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

anguish of spirit, declaring she could proceed no far 
ther. But being threatened by the Indians witr 
instant death, if she delayed them in their journey, 
she was compelled to make her toilsome way up the 
mountain, nearly fainting at every step. Having 
reached the summit, the captives were permitted to 
rest for about an hour. The Broad Mountain is said 
to be seven miles across, and about ten miles from 
Gilbert's settlement. 

Leaving Broad Mountain, they struck into Neska- 
peck path, which they followed the remainder of the 
day, crossing Quackac creek, and passing over Pis- 
mire Hill, and through the Moravian Pine Swamp, to 
Mahoniah Mountain, where they lodged that night. 
The prisoners were allowed, for beds, branches of 
hemlock strewed on the ground, and blankets for 
covering an indulgence scarcely to have been ex- 
pected from their savage captors. To prevent their 
escape, however, a contrivance was resorted to that 
completely marred the little comfort they might other- 
wise have enjoyed. A sapling about the thickness of 
a man's thigh was cut down, in which notches were 
made ; the legs of the prisoners were then placed in 
notches, and another sapling placed over the first and 
made fast ; a cord was also put about their necks and 
fastened to a tree ; thus effectually confining them, in 
this stretched-out position, all night upon their backs. 

Early the next morning they continued their route 
vear the waters of terrapin ponds. The Indians that 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 303 

day deemed it best to separate in companies of two, 
each under the command of a particular Indian, 
spreading them to a considerable distance, in order to 
render a pursuit as nearly impracticable as possible. 
During the day, the Indian under whose direction 
Benjamin Gilbert and his wife were placed, frequently 
threatened them with instant death, whenever from 
fatigue they began to lag in the journey. Towards 
evening the parties again met and encamped. Having 
killed a deer, they kindled a fire and roasted the flesh, 
each man holding a piece of it over the coals or in the 
flame, by means of pointed sticks. The confinement 
of the prisoners was similar to that which they endured 
the night before. 

After breakfast the next morning, a council was 
held concerning the division of the prisoners. An 
allotment being made, they were delivered to their 
several masters, with instructions to obey the com- 
mands of the particular Indian whose property they 
became. In this day's journey they passed near Fort 
Wyoming, on the eastern branch of the Susquehanna, 
about forty miles from their late habitation. The In- 
dians were alarmed as they approached this garrison, 
and observed great caution, suffering not the least 
unnecessary noise, and stepping on the stones that lay 
on the path, lest any footsteps should lead to a dis- 
covery. The night was spent on the banks of a stream 
emptying itself into the Susquehanna, not far distant 
from the fort. On the following morning the prisoners 



304 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

wore all painted, according to Indian custom, som 
of them with red and black, some all red, and ethers 
with black only. Those whom they painted black, 
without the mixture of any other color, are in most 
cases devoted to death ; and though they are not 
usually killed immediately, they are seldom preserved 
to reach the Indian hamlets alive. In the evening of 
this day, they came to the Susquehanna, having had 
a painful and wearisome journey over a very stony and 
hilly country. Here the Indians were more than 
ordinarily careful in seeking a secluded lodging-place, 
chat they might be as secure as possible from any 
scouting parties of the white people. In the night 
their horses strayed away from them, and it was late 
the next morning before they found them and were 
ready to proceed on their journey. Their course lay 
along the river. In the afternoon they came to a 
place where the Indians had left four negroes, with a 
supply of corn for their subsistence, waiting their re- 
turn. These negroes had escaped from their masters, 
and were on their way to Niagara when first dis- 
covered by the Indians. Being challenged by the 
latter, they said they " were for the king," upon which 
they were received into protection. 

It was not to the comfort of the prisoners that these 
negroes were added to the company. They manifested 
an insolence and domineering spirit which \yere almost 
intolerable, frequently insulting the captives, whipping 
them in mere wantonness and sport, and in all re-. 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 305 

treating them with more severity than the Indians did 
themselves. 

On the 1st of May, the whole company came to a 
place where two Indians lay dead at the side of the 
path. Two others had been killed there, but were re- 
moved. The captives were informed that a party of 
Indians had taken some white people whom they were 
carrying off as prisoners ; the latter rose upon their 
captors in the night time, killed four of them, and 
then effected their escape. When the present company 
came to this place the women were sent forward, and 
the male captives commanded to draw near and view 
the dead bodies. After remaining to observe them 
for some time, they were ordered to a place where a 
tree was blown down. They were then directed to 
dig a grave ; to effect which they sharpened a piece 
of sapling with a tomahawk, with which rude instru- 
ment one of them broke the ground, and the others 
threw out the earth with their hands ; the negroes 
being permitted to beat them severely all the time they 
were thus employed. The bodies were deposited in 
the grave, and the prisoners marched a short distance 
farther, where they found the Indians who had gone 
forward with the women, preparing a lodging place 
for the night. The captives were still secured every 
night, in the manner already described. 

The next day, towards evening, they crossed the 
east branch of the Susquehanna in canoes, at the samo 
place where General Sullivan's army had crossed it 
20 



806 HEROIC \VOM:-:X or THE WEST. 

in the expedition against tlie Indians. The horses 
swaui the river by the side of the canoes. Their en- 
campment that night was on the western bank of the 
stream ; but two Indians who did not cross it, sent 
for Benjamin Gilbert jr. and Jesse Gilbert's wife. 
Not being able to assign any probable cause for this 
order, the remaining captives spent the night in great 
anxiety and uneasiness of mind. The next morning, 
however, their fears were dispelled by seeing their 
companions again, who had received no worse treat- 
ment than usual. This day, the Indians, in their 
march, found a scalp which they took along with them, 
and also some corn, on which they made a supper. 
They frequently killed deer, which Avas the only pro- 
vision the party had, as the flour which they took 
with them from the settlement was expended. 

On the 4th of May, the party was divided into two 
companies ; the one taking a path to the westward, 
with whom were Thomas Peart, Joseph Gilbert, Ben- 
jamin Gilbert, jr., and Jesse Gilbert's wife; the other 
company travelled more to the north. 

In the evening, as the company that took the north- 
ern route was about to encamp, the prisoners inquired 
of their captors what had become of their four com- 
panions who had been taken on the western path. The 
reply was, " They are killed and scalped, and you 
may expect the same fate to-night." Andrew Harrigar 
was so terrified at the threat that he resolved upon 
flight. As soon as it was dark, he took a kettle, with 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 307 

pretence of bringing some water, and made his escape- 
under cover of the night. Pursuit was made by 
several of the Indians as soon as he was missing ; they 
remained out all night in search of him. They were 
not able, however, to overtake him, and in the morn- 
ing they returned. Harrigar endured many hardships 
in the woods, and at length reached the settlements, and 
gave the first authentic intelligence of the captives to 
their friends and neighbors. 

After this escape, the prisoners were treated with 
great severity on account of it, and were often accused 
of being privy to the design of Harrigar. Rowland 
Monteur carried his resentment so far that he threw 
Jesse Gilbert down, and lifted his tomahawk to strike 
him, which Mrs. Gilbert prevented by placing her 
head on that of her son, and beseeching the enraged 
savage to spare him. Turning round, he kicked her 
over, and then tied both mother and son by their necks 
to a tree, where they remained until his fury was a 
little abated ; he then loosed them, and bade them pack 
up and go forwards. In the evening they came to one 
of their lodging places in one of the deserted towns of 
the Shipquegas, and took their lodgings in one of the 
wigwams still standing. The Shipquegas towns had 
been abandoned a short time before, upon the :~p- 
proach of General Sullivan's army. The party re- 
mained for three days among the deserted villages of 
this tribe. Besides an abundance of game here, there 
were plenty of potatoes and turnips remaining in the 



308 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

fields attached to the villages, which had not been de 
stroyed by the invading army. Several horses were 
taken here, which had been left by the Shipquagas in 
their hasty flight. Upon resuming their march, Mrs. 
Gilbert was placed upon one of these horses, which 
seemed wild and dangerous to ride, but she was not 
thrown ; she continued to ride him for several days. 

The day they renewed their journey, they first 
passed through a, long and dreary swamp, and then 
began the ascent of a rugged mountain, where there 
was no path. The underwood made it difficult for 
the women to ascend ; but they were compelled to 
keep pace with their masters, however great the 
fatigue. When the mountain was crossed, the party 
tarried awhile for the negroes, who lagged behind with 
the horses that carried the baggage. The whole com- 
pany being now together, they agreed to encamp in 
a swamp not far distant. A long reach of savannas 
and low grounds rendering their next day's journey 
very fatiguing and painful, especially to the women ; 
and Elizabeth Peart in particular was wearied almost 
to fainting, by being compelled to carry her child, her 
husband not being permitted to carry it for her, or to 
lend her the least assistance ; and once as she was just 
ready to drop from fatigue, the Indian who had charge 
of her, struck her, a violent blow, to impel her forward. 

On the third day after their departure from the 
Shipquagas villages, their provisions began to fail 
them ; and there was no game in the country through 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 309 

winch they journeyed. At night, worn down Avith toil 
and suffering from the want of food, Mrs. Gilbert was 
seized with a chill. The Indians, however, gave her 
some flour and water boiled, which afforded her some 
relief. But the next day she was so weak that she 
could only get along by the assistance of two of her 
children her horse having been taken from her. 

On the 14th of May, they came to Canadosago, 
where they met with Benjamin Gilbert, jr., and Jesse 
Gilbert's wife, Sarah, two of the four captives that had 
been separated from the rest for the last ten days, and 
taken along the western path. On the same day, John 
Huston, jr., the younger of the Cayuga Indians, under 
whose care Benjamin Gilbert, sr., was placed, design- 
ing to dispatch him, painted him black ; this exceed- 
ingly terrified the family ; but no entreaties of theirs 
being likely to prevail, they resigned their cause to Him 
whose power can control all events. Wearied with 
travelling, and weak from the want of food, they made 
a stop to recover themselves ; when the elder of the 
Cayugas, who had been sent forward with Abner 
Gilbert two days before to procure a supply of pro- 
visions, returned, assuring them that a supply was at 
hand. 

The negroes were reduced so low with hunger, that 
their behavior was different from what it had been, 
conducting themselves with more moderation. At 
their quarters, in the evening, two white men came to 
them, one of whom was a volunteer among the British, 



CIO UEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the other had been taken prisoner some time before , 
these two men brought some hommony, and e 
made from the sweet maple ; of this provision they 
made a more comfortable supper than they had eaten 
for many days. 

In the morning the volunteer, having received in- 
formation of the rough treatment the prisoners met 
with from the negroes, relieved them by taking the 
negroes under his charge They crossed a large creek 
which was in their way, and had to swim their horses 
over it. Benjamin Gilbert began to fail, when an 
Indian put a rope around his neck, leading him along 
with it ; fatigue at last overpowered him, and he fell 
to the ground, when the Indian pulled the rope so 
hard that it almost choked him. His wife interceded 
for him, when her entreaties prevailed, and their hearts 
were turned from their cruel purpose. 

Necessity induced two of the Indians the next day 
to set off on horseback, into the Seneca country, in 
search of provisions. The prisoners, in the mean time, 
were ordered to dig up a root, something resembling 
a potato, which the Indians call whappanies. Tli--v 
tarried at this place, until towards the evening of the 
second day, and made a soup of wild onions and tur- 
nip tops ; this they ate without bread or salt, it could 
not therefore afford sufficient sustenance, either for 
young or old; their food being so very light their 
strength daily wasted. 

Having left this place, they crossed the Gei: 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. oil 

river on a rafu of logs, bound together by hickory 
withes ; this appeared to be a dangerous method of 
ferrying them over such a river, to those who had been 
unaccustomed to such conveyances. They fixed their 
station near the Genesee banks, and procured more of 
the wild potato roots before mentioned, for their 
supper. 

On the following day, one of the Indians left the 
company, taking with him the finest horse they had, 
and in some hours after returned with a large piece 
of meat, ordering the captives to broil it ; this com- 
mand they cheerfully performed, anxiously watching 
the kettle, fresh meat being a rarity which they had 
not for a long time enjoyed. The Indians, when it 
was sufficiently boiled, distributed to each person a 
piece, eating sparingly themselves. The prisoners 
made their repast without bread or salt, and ate with 
a good deal of relish what they supposed to be fresh 
beef, but afterwards understood it was horse flesh. 

A shrill halloo which they heard, gave the prisoners 
Borne uneasiness ; one of the Indians immediately rode 
to examine the cause, and found it was Captain Row- 
land Montetir, and his brother John's wife, with some 
other Indians, who were seeking them with provisions. 
The remainder of the company so'on reached them, 
and they divided some bread, which they had brought, 
into small pieces, according to the number of the com- 
pany. The captain and his company had brought with 
them cakes of hommony and Indian corn ; of this they 



312 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

made a good meal. He appeared pleased to see the 
prisoners, having been absent from them several days, 
and ordered them all round to shake hands with him. 
From him they received information respecting Joseph 
Gilbert and Thomas Peart, who were separated from 
the others on the fourth of the month, and learned 
that they had arrived at the Indian settlements, some 
time before, in safety. The company staid the night 
at this place. One of the Indians refused to suffer 
any of them to come near his fire, or converse with 
the prisoner, who, in the distribution had fallen tc 
him. Pounding hommony was the next day's employ- 
ment ; the weather being warm, made it a hard task ; 
they boiled and prepared it for supper, the Indians 
sitting down to eat first, and when they had concluded 
their meal, they wiped the spoon on the sole of their 
moccasons, and then gave it to the captives. 

Having resumed their journey, Elizabeth Gilbert, 
being obliged to ride alone, missed the path, for which 
the Indians repeatedly struck her. Their route still 
continued through rich meadows. After wandering 
for a time out of the direct path, they came to an In- 
dian town, and obtained the necessary information to 
pursue their journey; the Indians ran out of their 
huts to see the prisoners, and to partake of the plunder, 
but no part of it suited them. Being directed to travel 
the back path again, for a short distance, they did s<>, 
3ii d then struck into another, and went on until night, 
by which time they were very hungry, not having 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 313 

eaten since morning; the kettle was again set on the 
fire for hommony, ihis being their only food. 

On the 21st of May, the report of a morning-gun 
from Niagara, which they heard, contributed to raise 
their hopes they rejoiced at being so near. An In- 
dian was dispatched, on horseback, to procure some 
provisions from the fort. 

Elizabeth Gilbert could not walk as fast as the rest, 
she was therefore sent forward on foot, but was soon 
overtaken and left behind, the rest being obliged by 
the Indians to go on without regarding her. She 
would have been greatly perplexed, when she came to 
a division path, had not her husband laid a branch 
across the path which would have led her wrong an 
affecting instance of both ingenuity and tenderness. 
She met several Indians, who passed by without 
speaking to her. 

An Indian belonging to the company, who was on the 
horse Elizabeth Gilbert had ridden, overtook her, and 
endeavored to alarm her, by saying that she would be 
left behind, and perish in the woods : yet, notwith- 
standing this, his heart was so softened before he had 
gone any great distance from her, that he alighted 
from his horse and left him, that she might be able to 
reach the rest of the company. The more seriously 
si )C considered this, the more it appeared to her to be 
a convincing instance of the overruling protection of 
Him, who can " turn the heart of man as the husband- 
man turneth the water-course in his field." 



Jll HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

As the Indians approached nearer their habitations, 
they frequently repeated their halloos, and after somo 
time they received an answer in the same manner, 
which alarmed the company much ; but they soon dis- 
covered it to proceed from a party of whites and In- 
dians, who were on some expedition, though their pre- 
tence was that they were for New York. Not long 
after parting with these, Rowland Monteur's wife 
ca/ae to them ; she was daughter to Siangorochti, 
k'ng of the Senecas, but her mother being a Cayuga, 
she was ranked among that nation, the children gene- 
rally reckoning their descent from the mother's side. 
This princess was attended by the captain's brother, 
John, one other Indian, and a white prisoner who had 
been taken at Wyoming, by Rowland Monteur ; she 
was dressed altogether in the Indian manner, shining 
with gold lace and silver baubles. They brought with 
them from the fort a supply of provisions. The cap- 
tain being at a distance behind, when his wife came, 
the company waited for him. After the customary 
salutations, he addressed himself to his wife, telling 
her that Rebecca was her daughter, and that she must 
not be induced, by any consideration, to part with her ; 
whereupon she took a silver ring off her finger, and 
put it upon Rebecca's, by which she was adopted as 
her daughter. 

They feasted upon the provisions that were brought, 
fur they had been for several days before pinched with 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 315 

hunger, what sustenance they could procure not being 
sufficient to support nature. - 

The next day, the Indians proceeded on their jour- 
ney, and continued whooping in the most frightful 
manner. In this day's route, they met another com- 
pany of Indians, who compelled Benjamin Gilbert, 
the elder, to sit on the ground, when they put several 
questions to kirn, to which he gave them the best an- 
swer he could ; they then took his hat from him and 
went off. 

Going through a small town near Niagara, an In- 
dian woman came out of one of the huts, and struck 
each of the captives a blow. Not long after their 
departure from this place, Jesse, Rebecca, and their 
mother, were detained until the others had got out of 
their sight, when the mother was ordered to push on ; 
and as she had to go by herself, she was much per- 
plexed what course to take, as there was no path by 
which she could be directed. In this dilemma, she 
concluded to keep as straight forward as possible, and 
after some space of time, she had the satisfaction of 
overtaking the others. The pilot then made a short 
stay, that those who were behind might come up, and 
the captain handed some rum round, giving each a 
dram, except the two old folks, whom they did not 
consider worthy of this notice. Here the captain, 
who had the chief direction, painted Abner, Jesse, 
Rebecca, and Elizabeth Gilbert, jr., and presented 
each with a belt of wampum, as a token of their being 



516 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

received into favor, although they took from them all 
their hats and bonnets, except Rebecca's. 

The prisoners were released from the loads they 
had heretofore been compelled to carry, and had it not 
been for the treatment they expected on their ap- 
proaching the Indian towns, and the hardships after 
a separation, their situation would have been tolerable ; 
but the horrors of their minds, arising from the dread- 
ful yells of the Indians, as they approached the ham- 
lets, is easier conceived than described, for they were 
no strangers to the customary cruelty exercised upon 
captives on entering their towns. The Indians, men, 
women, and children, collect together, bringing clubs 
and stones in order to beat them, which they usually 
do with great severity, by way of revenge for their 
relations who have been slain ; this is performed im- 
mediately upon their entering the village where the 
warriors reside. This treatment cannot be avoided, 
and the blows, however cruel, must be borne without 
complaint, and the prisoners are sorely beaten, until 
their enemies are wearied with the cruel sport. Their 
Bufferings were in this case very great, they received 
several wounds, and two of the women, who were on 
horseback, were much bruised by the falling of their 
horses, which were frightened by the Indians. Eliza- 
beth, the mother, took shelter by the side of one of 
them, but upon observing that she met with some 
l 'avor upon his account, he sent her away ; she then 
received several violent blows, so that she was almost 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 317 

disabled. The blood trickled from their heads in a 
stream, their hair being cut close, and the clothes they 
had on, in rags, made their situation truly piteous. 
Whilst they were inflicting this revenge upon the cap- 
tives, the king came, and put a stop to any farther 
cruelty, by telling them " It AY as sufficient," which 
they immediately attended to. 

Benjamin Gilbert, and Elizabeth his wife, were or- 
dered to Captain Rowland Monteur's house ; the wo- 
men belonging to it were kind to them, and gave them 
something to eat : Sarah Gilbert, Jesse's wife, was 
taken from them by three women, in order to be put 
in the family she was to be adopted by. 

Two officers, from Niagara Fort, Captains Dace 
and Powel, came to see the prisoners, and prevent, 
as they were informed, any abuse that might be given 
them. Benjamin Gilbert informed these officers, that 
he was apprehensive they were in great danger of be- 
ing murdered, upon which they promised him they 
would send a boat, the next day, to bring them to 
Niagara. 

Notwithstanding the kind intention of the officers, 
they did not derive the expected advantage from it, 
the next day, for the Indians insisted on their going 
to the fort on foot, although the bruises they had re- 
ceived the clay before, from the many severe blows 
given them, rendered their journey on foot very dis- 
tressing ; but Captain Monteur obstinately persisting, 
they dared not remonstrate, or refuse. 



318 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

When they left the Indian town, several issued from 
theii huts after them with sticks in their hands, yell- 
ing and screeching in the most dismal manner ; but 
through the interposition of four Indian women, who 
had come with the captives, to prevent any further 
abuse they might receive, they were preserved. One 
of them walking between Benjamin Gilbert and his 
wife, led them, and desired Jesse to keep as near them 
as he could, the other three walked behind, and pre- 
vailed with the young Indians to desist. They had 
not pursued their route long, before they saw Captain 
John Powel, who came from his boat, and persuaded 
(though with some difficulty) the Indians to get into 
it, with the captives, which relieved them from their 
apprehensions of further danger. After reaching the 
fort, Captain Powel introduced them to Colonel Guy 
Johnson, and Colonel Butler, who asked the prisoners 
many questions, in the presence of the Indians. They 
presented the captain with a belt of wampum, which 
is a constant practice among them, when they intend 
a ratification of the peace. Before their connection 
with Europeans, these belts were made of shells, found 
on the coasts of New England and Virginia, which 
were sawed out into beads of an oblong shape, about 
a quarter of an inch long, which when strung together 
on leather strings, and these strings fastened with fine 
threads made of sinews, compose what is called a belt 
of wampum. But since the whites have gained footing 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 319 

amongst them, they make use of the common glass 
beads for this purpose. 

On the 25th of May, Benjamin Gilbert, his wife 
Elizabeth, and their son Jesse, were surrendered to 
Colonel Johnson, in whose family they received much 
kindness. The colonel's housekeeper was particularly 
attentive to them, not only inviting them to her house, 
where she gave the old folks her best room, but ad- 
ministering to their necessities and endeavoring to 
soothe their sorrows: 

A few days after they came to the fort, they had 
information that Benjamin Peart was by the river side, 
with the Indians ; upon hearing this report, his mo- 
ther went to see him, but every attempt to obtain his 
release was in vain ; the Indians would by no means 
give him up. From this place they intended to march 
with their prisoners to the Genesee river, about one 
hundred miles distant. As the affectionate mother's 
solicitations proved fruitless, her son not only felt the 
afflicting loss of his wife and child, from whom he had 
been torn some time before, but the renewal of his 
grief on this short sight of his parent. She procured 
him a hat, and also some salt, which was an acceptable 
burden for the journey. 

Benjamin Gilbert, conversing with the Indian cap- 
tain who made them captives, observed that he migh. 
Bay what none of the other Indians could, " That he 
had brought in the oldest man, and the youngest 
child ;" his reply to this was expressive ; "It \v,;s not 



320 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

I. but the great God who brought you through, for 
we wore determined to kill you, but were prevented.' 

The British officers being informed that Jesse Gil- 
bert's wife was among the Indians, with great tender- 
ness agreed to seek her out, and after a diligent in- 
quiry, found that she was among the Delawares ; they 
went to them, and endeavored to agree upon some 
terms for her release ; the Indians brought her to the 
fort the next day, but would not give her up to her 
relations. 

Early next morning, Captain Robeson generously 
undertook to procure her liberty, which, after much 
attention and solicitude, he, together with Lieutenant 
Ilillyard, happily accomplished. They made the In- 
dians some small presents, and gave them one hundred 
and fifty dollars as a ransom. When Sarah Gilbert 
had obtained her liberty, she altered her dress more 
in character for her sex, than she had been able to do 
whilst among the Indians, and went to her husband 
and parents at Colonel Johnson's, where she was joy- 
fully received. Colonel Johnson's housekeeper con- 
tinued her kind attentions to them, during their stay, 
and procured clothing for thm from the public stores 

About the 4st of June, the Senecas, among whom 
Elizabeth Peart was a captive, brought her with them 
to the fort ; as soon as the mother heard of it, she went 
to her, and had some conversation with her, but could 
not learn where she was to be sent to ; she then in- 
quired of the interpreter, and pressed on his friend 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 321 

ship, to learn what was to become of her daughter , 
this request he complied with, and informed her that 
she was to be given away to another family of the Se- 
necas, and adopted among them, in the place of a de- 
ceased relation. Captain Powel interested himself 
in her case likewise, and offered to purchase her of 
them, but the Indians refused to give her up ; and as 
the mother and daughter expected they should see 
each other no more, their parting was very affecting. 

The woman who had adopted Rebecca as her 
daughter, came also to the fort, and Elizabeth Gilbert 
made use of this opportunity to inquire concerning 
her daughter ; the interpreter informed her that there 
was no probability of obtaining the enlargement of 
her child, as the Indians would not part with her. All 
she could do was to recommend her to their notice, as 
very weakly, and in consequence not able to endure 
much fatigue. 

Xot many days after their arrival at Niagara, a 
vessel came up Niagara to the fort, with orders for 
the prisoners to go to Montreal. In this vessel came 
the notorious Indian chief, Brant. Elizabeth Gilbert 
immediately applied to him in behalf of her children 
who yet remained in captivity, when he promised to 
use his endeavors to procure their liberty, A short 
time before they sailed for Montreal, they received 
accounts of Abner and Elizabeth Gilbert the younger, 
but it was understood that their possessors were not 
disposed to give them up. As the prospect of obtaining 
21 



322 HEROIC "WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

.-the release of their children was so very discouraging, 
it was no alleviation to their distress to be removed to 
Montreal, where, in all probability, they would seldom 
be able to gain any information respecting them ; on 
which account, they were very solicitous to stay at 
Niagara, but the colonel said they could not remain 
there, unless the son would enter into the king's ser- 
vice ; this could not be consented to, therefore they 
chose to submit to every calamity which might be per- 
mitted to befal them, and confide in the great Con- 
troller of events. After continuing ten days at Co- 
lonel Johnson's, they took boat and crossed the Nia- 
gara, in order to go on board the vessel which was to 
take them to Montreal. 

Benjamin Gilbert had been much indisposed before 
they left the fort, and his disorder was increased by a 
rain which fell on their passage, as they were without 
any covering. They passed Oswagatcby, an English 
garrison, by the side of the river, but they were not 
permitted to stop here ; they proceeded down the St. 
Lawrence, and the rain continuing, went on shore on 
an island in order to secure themselves from the wea- 
ther. Here they made a shelter for Benjamin Gilbert, 
and when the rain ceased, a place was prepared for 
him in the boat, that he might lie down with mora 
ease. His bodily weakness made such rapid progress, 
that it rendered all the care and attention of his wife 
necessary, and likewise called forth all her fortitude : 
she supported him in her arms, affording every pos- 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 323 

sible relief to mitigate his extreme pains. Although 
in this distressed condition, he, notwithstanding, gave 
a satisfactory evidence of the virtue and power of a 
patient and holy resignation, which can disarm the 
king of terrors, and receive him as a welcome rnes 
senger. Thus prepared, he passed from this state of 
probation, the 8th of June, 1780, in the evening, 
leaving his wife and two children, who were with him, 
in all the anxiety of deep distress, although they had 
no doubt but that their loss was his everlasting gain. 
Being without a light in the boat, the darkness of the 
night added not a little to their malancholy situation. 
As there were not any others with Elizabeth Gilbert 
but her children, and four Frenchmen, who managed 
the boat, and her apprehensions alarmed her lest they 
.should throw the corpse overboard, as they appeared 
to be an unfeeling company, she therefore applied to 
some British officers who were in a boat behind them, 
who dispelled her fears, and received her under their 
protection. In the morning they passed the garrison 
of Coeur de Lac, and waited for some considerable 
time, a small distance below it. Squire Campbell, who 
hud the charge of the prisoners, when he heard of 
Benjamin Gilbert's decease, sent Jesse to the com 
mandant of this garrison to get a coffin, in which they 
put the corpse, and very hastily interred him under an 
oak, not far from the fort. The boatmen would not 
allow his widow to pay the last tribute to his memory, 
)ut regardless of her affliction refused to wait. 



324 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

The next day, they arrived at Montreal, where the} 
remained for more than a year, receiving much kind- 
ness both from the British officers and soldiers and a 
number of the inhabitants. Being placed upon the 
list of the king's prisoners, daily rations were allowed 
them. 

During the time they remained here, they applied 
to Colonel Campbell for such assistance as he could 
render them in procuring the release of the other cap- 
tives from the Indians. He took down a short account 
of their sufferings, and forwarded the narrative to 
General Huldimund, at Quebec, desiring his attention 
to the sufferers. The general immediately issued or- 
ders that all the officers under his command should 
endeavor to procure the release of the prisoners, and 
that every garrison should furnish them with neces- 
saries as they came down. Soon after this, Mrs. Gilbert 
was one day at the house of a Mrs. Scott, in Mon- 
treal, when she was informed that some persons in an 
adjoining room were desirous of seeing her. Her joy 
may be imagined when, upon entering the apartment, 
she beheld six of her long lost children. 

A messenger was sent to inform Jesse and his wife, 
that Joseph Gilbert, Benjamin Peart, Elizabeth lag 
wife, and young child, Abner and Elizabeth Gilbert, 
the younger, were with their mother. It must afford 
very pleasing reflections to any affectionate disposi- 
tion, to dwell awhile on this scene, that after a cap- 
tivity of nearly fourteen months, so happy a meeting 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 325 

should take place. Thomas Peart, who had obtained 
his liberty, tarried at Niagara, that he might be of 
service to the two yet remaining in captivity, viz. Ben- 
jamin Gilbert, jr. and Rebecca Gilbert. Abigail Dod- 
son, the daughter of a neighboring farmer, who was 
taken with them, having inadvertently informed the 
Indians she was not of the Gilbert family, all attempts 
tor her liberty were fruitless. 

We shall now relate how Joseph Gilbert, the eldest 
son of the deceased, fared among the Indians. He, 
with Thomas Peart, Benjamin Gilbert, jr. and Jesse 
Gilbert's wife Sarah, were taken along the westward 
path, as before related ; after some short continuance 
in this path, Thomas Peart and Joseph Gilbert were 
taken from the other two, and by a different route 
through many difficulties, they were brought to Cara- 
cadera, where they received the insults of the women 
and children, whose husbands had fallen in their hostile 
excursions. 

Joseph Gilnart was separated from his companion, 
and removed to an Indian town, called Nundow, about 
seven miles from Caracadera ; his residence was, for 
several weeks, in the king's family, whose hamlet was 
superior to the other small huts. The king himself 
brought him some hornrnony, and treated him with 
great civility, intending his adoption into his family, 
in place of one of his sons, who was slain when Gene- 
ral Sullivan drove them from their habitations. A $ 
Nundow was not to be the place of his abode, his 
28 



326 HEROIC 'VYOMEN OF TI1E WEST. 

quarters were soon changed, and he was taken back 
to Caracadera. 

The situation of Elizabeth Peart, wife of Benjamin, 
and her child is next related. After she and the child 
were parted from her husband, Abigail Dodson and 
che child were taken several miles in the night, to a 
little hut, where they staid till morning, and the day 
following were taken within eight miles of Xi.-igara, 
where she was adopted into one of the families of Se- 
necas ; the ceremonies of adoption to her were tedious 
and distressing ; they obliged her to sit down with a 
young man, an Indian, and the eldest chieftain of the 
family repeated a jargon of words, to her unintelli- 
gible, but which she considered as some form of mar- 
riage, and this apprehension introduced the most vio- 
lent agitations, as she was fully determined, at all 
events, to oppose any steps of this nature ; but after 
the old Indian concluded his speech, she was relieved 
from the dreadful embarrassment she had been under, 
as she was led away by another Indian. Abigail Dod- 
son was given the same day to one of the families of 
the Cayuga nation, so that Elizabeth Peart saw her 
no more. 

The man who led Elizabeth from the company, took 
her* into the family for whom they adopted her, and 
introduced her to her parents, brothers, and sisters, 
in the Indian style, who received her very kindly, and 
made a grievous lamentation over her, according to 
custom. After she had been with them two days, the 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 327 

whole family left their habitation and went about two 
miles to Fort Slusher, where they staid several days. 
This fort is about one mile above Niagara Falls. 

As she was much indisposed, the Indians were de- 
tained several days for her ; but as they cared little 
for her, she was obliged to lie on the damp ground, 
which prevented her speedy recovery. As soon as her 
disorder abated its violence, they set off in a bark 
canoe for Buffalo creek ; and as they went slowly, 
they had an opportunity of taking some fish. When 
they arrived at their place of intended settlement, they 
went on shore to build a house. A few days after they 
came to this new settlement, they returned with Eli- 
zabeth to Fort Slusher, when she was told her child 
must be taken away from her ; this was truly afflict- 
ing, but all remonstrances were in vain. From Fort 
Slusher she travelled on foot, carrying her child to 
Niagara, it being eighteen miles, and in sultry weather, 
which rendered it a painful addition to the thoughts 
of parting with her tender offspring. The intent of 
their journey was to obtain provisions, and their stay 
at the fort was of several days continuance, Captain 
Powel offered her an asylum in his house. 

The Indians took the child from her, and went with 
it across the river, to adopt it into the family fchey 
h:id assigned for it, notwithstanding Captain Powel, 
at his wife's request, interceded that it might not be 
removed from its mother ; but as it was so young, 
they returned it to its mother after its adoption, until 



328 HEROIC WOMEN OF TTIE WEST. 

it should be convenient to send it to the family under 
whose protection it was to be placed. Obtaining the 
provision and other necessaries they came to Niagara 
to trade for, they returned to Fort Slusher on foot, 
from whence they embarked in their canoes. 

It being near the time of planting, they used much 
expedition in this journey. The labor and drudgery 
in a family falling to the share of the women, Eliza- 
beth had to assist the squaw in preparing the ground 
and planting corn. Their provisions being scant, they 
suffered much, and their dependence for a sufficient 
supply until gathering their crop, was on what they 
should receive from the fort, they were under the 
necessity of making a second journey thither. 

They were two days on the road at this time. A 
small distance before they came to the fort, they took 
her child from her, and sent it to its destined family, 
and it was several months before she had an opportu- 
nity of seeing it again. After being taken from her 
husband, to lose her darling infant was a severe stroke : 
she lamented her condition and wept sorely, for which 
one of the Indians inhumanly struck her. Her Indian 
father seemed a little moved to see her so distressed ; 
and in order to console her, assured her they would 
bring it back again, but she saw it not until the spring 
following. After they had disposed of their peltries, 
they returned to their habitation by the same route 
which they had come. 

a heart oppressed with sorrow, Elizabeth trod 



CAPTIVITY DF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 329 

back her steps, mourning for her lost infant, for this 
idea presented itself continually to her mind ; but as 
she experienced how fruitless, nay, how dangerous, 
solicitations in behalf of her own child were, she dried 
up her tears and pined in secret. 

Soon after they had reached their own habitation, 
Elizabeth Peart was again afflicted with sickness. At 
first they showed some attention to her complaints, 
but as she did not speedily recover so as to be able 
to work, they discontinued every attention, and built 
a small hut by the side of a cornfield, placing her in 

v / i O 

it to mind the corn. In this lonely condition she saw 
a white man, who had been made prisoner among the 
the Indians. He informed her that her child was re- 
leased and with the white people. This information 
revived her drooping spirits, and a short time after 
she recovered of her indisposition, but her employment 
still continued to be that of attending corn until it was 
ripe for gathering, which she assisted in. When the 
harvest was over, they permitted her to return and 
live with them. A time of plenty now commenced, 
and they lived as if they had sufficient to last the year 
through, faring plenteously every day. 

A drunken Indian came to the cabin one day, and 
the old Indian woman complained of him to Elizabeth, 
his behaviour exceedingly terrified her ; he stormed 
like fury, and at length struck her a violent blow, 
which laid her on the ground ; he then began to pull 
her about and abuse her much, when another of the 
28* 



330 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

women interposed, and rescued her from further suf- 
fering. Such is the shocking effects of spirituous 
liquor on these people, that it totally deprives them 
both of sense and humanity. 

A tedious winter prevented them from leaving their 
habitation, and deprived her of the pleasure of hear- 
ing often of her friends, who were very much scattered ; 
but a prisoner, who had lately seen her husband, in- 
formed her of his being much indisposed at the Gc- 
nesee river, which was one hundred miles distant. On 
receiving this intelligence, she stood in need of much 
consolation, but had no source of comfort except in 
her own bosom. 

Near the return of spring, the provision failing, 
they were compelled to go off to the fort for a fresh 
supply, having but a small portion of corn, which 
they apportioned out once each day. Through snow 
and severe frost they set out for Niagara, suffering 
much from the excessive cold. And when they came 
within a few miles of the fort, which they were four 
days in accomplishing, they struck up a small wig- 
wam for some of the family, with the prisoners, to live 
in, until the return of the warriors from the fort. 

As soon as Captain Po\vel's wife heard that the 
young child's mother had come with the Indians, she 
desired to see her, claiming some relationship in the 
Indian way, as she had also been a prisoner amongst 
them. They granted her request, and Elizabeth was 
accordingly introduced, and informed that her hus- 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 331 

b?nd was returned to the fort, and there was some 
expectation of his release. The same day Benjamin 
Peart came to see his wife, but he was not permitted 
to continue with her, as the Indians insisted on her 
going back with them to the cabin, which, as has been 
related, was some miles distant. She was not allowed 
for several days to go from the cabin, but a white 
family who had bought the child from the Indians to 
whom it had been presented, offered the party with 
whom Elizabeth had been confined a bottle of rum if 
they would bring her across the river to her child, 
which they did, and delighted the fond mother with 
this happy meeting, as she had not seen it for the 
space of eight months. 

She was permitted to remain with the family where 
her child was for two days, when she returned with 
the Indians to their cabin. After some time she ob- 
tained a further permission to go to the fort, where 
she had some needle work from the white people, 
which afforded her a plea for often visiting it. At 
length Captain Powel's wife prevailed with them to 
suffer her to continue a few days at her house and 
work for her family, which was granted. At the ex- 
piration of the time, upon the coming of the Indians 
for her to return with them, she pleaded indisposition, 
and by this means they were repeatedly dissuaded 
from taking her with them. 

As the time of planting drew nigh, she made use 
ctf a little address to retard her departure ; having a 



332 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



swelling on her neck, she applied a poultice, 
which led the Indians into a belief that it was improper 
to remove her, and they consented to come again for 
her in two weeks. Her child was given up to her 
soon after her arrival at the fort, where she had lodged 
at Captain Powel's, and her husband came frequently 
to visit her, which was a great satisfaction, as her 
trials in their separation had been many. 

At the time appointed, some of the Indians came 
again, but she still pleaded indisposition, and had con- 
fined herself to her bed. One of the women interro- 
gated her very closely, but did not insist upon her 
going back. Thus several months elapsed, she con- 
triving delays as often as they came. 

When the vessel, which was to take the other five, 
among whom was her husband and child, was ready 
to sail, the officers at Niagara concluded that she 
might also go with them, as they saw no reasonable 
objection, and they doubted not but that it was in 
their power to satisfy those Indians who considered 
her as their property. 

Abner Gilbert, another of the captives, when the 
company had reached the Indian towns, within three 
miles of Niagara Fort, was, with Elizabeth Gilbert 
the younger, separated from the rest about the latter 
part of May, 1780, and were both adopted into John 
Huston's family, who was of the Cayuga nation. After 
a stay of three days, at or near the settlements of 
these Indians, they removed to a place near the Great 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 333 

Falls, which is about eighteen miles distant from the 
fort, and loitered there three days more ; they then 
crossed the river, and settled near its banks, clearing 
a piece of land, and preparing it with a hoe for plant- 
ing. Until they could gather their corn, their de- 
pendence was entirely upon the fort. After the space 
of three weeks they packed up their moveables, which 
they generally carry with them in their rambles, and 
went down the river to get provisions at Butlersbury, 
a small village built by Colonel Butler, and is on the 
opposite side of the river to Niagara Fort. They 
staid one night at the village, observing great caution 
chat none of the white people should converse with 
the Indians. Next day, after transacting their busi- 
ness, they returned to their settlement, and continued 
there but about one week, when it was concluded they 
must go again for Butlersbury ; after they had left 
their habitation a small distance, the head of the fa- 
mily met with his brother, and as they are very cere- 
monious in such interviews, the place of meeting was 
their rendezvous for that day and night. In the morn- 
ing, the family, with the brother before mentioned, 
proceeded for Butlersbury, and reached it before dark. 
They went to the house of an Englishman, one John 
Secord, who was styled brother to the chief of the fa- 
mily, having lived with him some time before. After 
Borne deliberation, it was agreed that Elizabeth Gil- 
bert should continue in this family until sent for ; 
this was an agreeable change to her. 



334 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

From the time of Elizabeth being first introduced 
by the Indian into the family of John Secord, who 
was one in whom he placed great confidence, she was 
under the necessity of having new clothes, as those 
she had brought from home were much worn. Her 
situation in the family where she was placed was com- 
fortable. 

After she had resided a few days with them she 
discovered where the young child was, that had some 
time before been taken from its mother, Elizabeth 
Peart, and herself, together with John Secord's wife, 
with whom she lived, and Captain Fry's wife, went to 
Bee it, in order to purchase it from the Indian woman 
who had it under her care ; but they could not then 
prevail with her, though some time after Captain Fry's 
wife purchased it for thirteen dollars. Whilst among 
the Indians, it had been for a long time indisposed, 
and in a lingering, distressed situation ; but under its 
present kind protectress, who treated the child as her 
own, it soon recruited. 

Elizabeth Gilbert jr., lived very agreeably in John 
Secord's family rather more than a year, and became 
BO fondly attached to her benefactors, that she usually 
styled the mistress of the house her mamma. During 
her residence here, her brother Abner and Thomas 
Peart came several times to visit her. The afflicting 
loss of her father, to whom she was affectionately en- 
deared, and the separation from her mother, whom 
she had no expectation of seeing again, was a severe 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 335 

trial, although moderated by the kind attentions shown 
her by the family in which she lived. 

John Secord, having some business at Niagara, 
took Betsy with him, where she had the satisfaction 
of seeing six of her relations, who had been captives, 
but were most of them released. This happy meeting 
made the trip to the fort a very agreeable one. She 
staid with them all night, and then returned. Not 
long after this visit, Colonel Butler and John Secord 
sent for the Indian who claimed Elizabeth as his pro- 
perty, and when he arrived they made overtures to 
purchase her, but he declared he would not sell his 
own flesh and blood ; for thus they style those whom 
they have adopted. They then had recourse to pre- 
sents, which, overcoming his scruples, they obtained 
her discharge ; after which she remained two weeks 
at Butlersbury, and afterwards went to her mother at 
Montreal. 

Having given a brief relation of the release and 
meeting of such of the captives as had returned from 
among the Indians, it may not be improper to return 
to the mother, who, with several of her children, were 
at Montreal. Elizabeth Gilbert suffered no opportu- 
nity to pass her, of inquiring about her relations and 
friends in Pennsylvania, and had the satisfaction of 
being informed by one who came from the southward, 
that the Friends of Philadelphia had been very assi- 
duous in their endeavors to gain information where 
the family was, and had sent to the different meetings, 



336 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

3esiring them to inform themselves of the situation ot 
the captured family, and, if in their power, afford 
them such relief as they might need. 

A person who came from Crown Point, informed 
her that Benjamin Gilbert, a son of the deceased by 
his first wife, had come thither in order to be of what 
service he could to the family, and had desired him 
to make inquiry where they were, and in what situa- 
tion, and send him the earliest information possible. 
The next agreeable intelligence she received from Nia- 
gara, by a young woman who came from thence, who 
informed her that her daughter Rebecca was given up 
to the English by the Indians. This information must 
have been very pleasing, as their expectations of her 
release were but faint; the Indian with whom she 
lived considering her as her own child. It was not 
long after this, that Thomas Peart, Rebecca Gilbert, 
and their cousin Benjamin Gilbert, came to Montreal 
to the rest of the family. This meeting, after such 
scenes of sorrow as they had experienced, was more 
completely happy than can be expressed. 

Rebecca Gilbert and Benjamin Gilbert jr. were 
separated from their friends and connections at a 
place called the Five Mile Meadows, which was said 
to be that distance from Niagara. The Seneca king's 
daughter, to whom they were allowed in the distribu- 
tion of captives, took them to a small hut where her 
father, Siangorochti, his queen, and the rest of the 
family were, eleven in number. Upon the reception 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 337 

of the prisoners into the family, there was much sor- 
row and weeping, as is customary on such occasions, 
and the higher in favor the adopted prisoners are to 
be placed, the greater lamentation is made over them. 
A fter three days the family removed to a place called 
the Landing, on the banks of the Niagara river. Here 
they continued two days more, and then two of the 
women went with the captives to Niagara, to procure 
clothing from the king's store for them, and permitted 
them to ride on horseback to Fort Slusher, which is 
about eighteen miles distant from Niagara Fort. On 
this journey they had a sight of the great Falls of 
Niagara. 

During a stay of six days at Fort Slusher, the Bri- 
tish officers and others used their utmost endeavors to 
purchase them of the Indians ; but the Indian king 
said he would not part with them for one thousand 
dollars. The Indians who claimed Elizabeth Peart, 
came to the fort with her at this time, and although 
ehe was very weakly and indisposed, it was an agree- 
able opportunity to them both, of conversing with each 
other, but they were not allowed to be frequently to- 
gether, lest they should increase each other's discon- 
tent. Rebecca being dressed in the Indian manner, 
appeared very different from what she had been accus- 
tomed to ; short clothes, leggings, and a gold laced hat. 
From Fort Niagara they went about eighteen miles 
above the Falls to Fort Erie, a garrison of the En- 
glish, and continued their journey about four miles 
22 29 



338 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

further, up Buffalo creek, and pitched their tent. At 
this place they met Rebecca's father and mother, by 
adoption, who had gone before on horseback. They 
caught some fish and made some soup of them, but 
Rebecca could eat none of it, as it was cooked without 
salt, and with all the carelessness of Indians. This 
spot was intended for their plantation, they therefore 
began to clear the land for a crop of Indian corn. 
While the women were thus employed, the men built 
a log house for their residence, and then went out a 
hunting. 

Notwithstanding the family they lived with was of 
the first rank among the Indians, and the head of it 
styled king, they were under the necessity of laboring 
as well as those of lower rank, although they often had 
advantages of procuring more provisions than the rest. 
This family raised this summer about seventy-five 
bushels of Indian corn. As Rebecca was not able to 
pursue a course of equal labor with the other women, 
she was favored by them by often being sent into their 
hut to prepare something to eat; and as she dr< 
their provisions after the English method, and had 
erected an oven by the assistance of the other women, 
in which they baked their bread, their family fared 
more agreeably than the others. 

Benjamin Gilbert jr., who was only eleven years of 
age when he was captured, was considered as the king's 
successor, and entirely freed from restraint, so that 
he even began to be delighted with his manner of life ; 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 

and had it not been for the frequent counsel of his 
fellow captive, he would not have been anxious for an 
exchange. 

In the waters of the lakes there are various kinds 
of fish, which the Indians take sometimes with spears ; 
but whenever they can obtain hooks and lines the;y 
prefer them. A fish called ozoondah, resembling a 
shad in shape, but rather thicker and less bony, with 
which Lake Erie abounded, was often dressed for 
their table, and was of an agreeable taste, weighing 
from three to four pounds. 

They drew provisions this summer from the forts, 
which frequently induced the Indians to repair thither. 
The king, his daughter, granddaughter, and Rebecca, 
went together upon one of these visits to Fort Erie, 
where the British officers entertained them with a rich 
feast, and so great a profusion of wine, that the Indian 
king got very drunk ; and as he had to manage the 
canoe on their return, they were repeatedly in danger 
of being overset among the rocks in the lake. 

Rebecca and Benjamin met with much better fare 
than the other captives, as the family they lived with 
Were but seldom in great want of necessaries, which 
were the only advantages they enjoyed beyond the 
rest of their tribe. Benjamin Gilbert, as a badge of 
his dignity, wore a silver medal pendant from his neok. 
The king, queen, and another of the family, together 
with Rebecca, and her cousin Benjamin, set off for 
Niagara, going as far as Fort Slusher \>y water, from 



310 HEROIC WOMEN OF TUB WEST. 

whence they proceeded on foot, carrying their l<>a<!.-J 
on their backs. Their business at the fort was to ob- 
tain provisions, which occasioned them frequently to 
visit it. 

Rebecca indulged herself with the pleasing expecta- 
tion of obtaining her release, or at least permission to 
remain behind among the whites; but in both these 
expectations she was disagreeably disappointed, having 
to return again with her captors ; all efforts for her 
release being in vain. Colonel Johnson's housekeeper, 
whose repeated acts of kindness to this captured 
family have been noticed, made her some acceptable 
presents. As they had procured some rum to carry 
home Avith them, the chief was frequently intoxicated, 
arid always in such unhappy fits behaved remarkably 
foolish. On their return, Thomas Peart, who was at 
Fort Niagara, procured for Rebecca a horse to carry 
her as far as Fort Slusher, where they took boat and 
got home after a stay of nine days. 

Soon after their return, Rebecca and her cousin 
were seized with the chills and fever, which held them 
for near three months. During their indisposition the 
Indians were very kind to them ; and as their strength 
of constitution alone could not check the progress of 
the disorder, the Indians procured some herbs, with 
which the patients were unacquainted, and made a 
plentiful decoction ; with this they washed them, and 
't seemed to afform them some relief. The Indians 
accounted it a sovereign remedy. The decease of her 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 341 

father, cf which Rebecca received an account, kept 
her in n drooping way a considerable time longer 
than she would otherwise have been. 

As soon as she recovered her health, some of the 
family again went to Niagara, and Rebecca was per- 
mitted to be of the company. They staid at the fort 
al. >ut two weeks, and Colonel Johnson exerted him- 
self in order to obtain her release, holding a treaty 
with the Indians for this purpose ; but this mediation 
proved fruitless : she had therefore to return with 
many a heavy step. When they came to Lake Erie, 
where their canoe was, they proceeded by water. 
While in their boat, a number of Indians in another, 
came towards them, and informed them of the death 
of her Indian father, who had made an expedition to 
the frontiers of Pennsylvania, and was there wounded 
by the militia, and afterwards died of his wounds ; on 
which occasion she was under the necessity of making 
a feint of sorrow, and weeping aloud with the rest. 
When they arrived at their settlement, it was the 
time of gathering their crop of corn, potatoes, and 
pumpkins, and preserving their hickory-nuts. About 
the beginning of the winter, some British officers came 
amongst them, and staid with them until spring, 
using every endeavor to obtain the discharge of the 
two captives, but without success. Rebecca and her 
cousin had the pleasure of seeing her brother, Abner, 
who came with the family amongst whom he lived, 
to settle near this place ; and as they had not seen each 
29* 



342 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

other for almost twelve months, it proved very agree* 
able. Thomas Peart endeavored to animate his sister, 
by encouraging her with the hopes of speedily obtain- 
ing her liberty ; but her hopes had so often failed, 
that she received little consolation. 

An officer among the British, one Captain Latte- 
ridge, came and staid some time with them, and inte- 
rested himself on behalf of the prisoners, and appeared 
in a fair way of obtaining their release ; but being 
ordered to his regiment, he was prevented from fur- 
ther attention until his return from duty ; arid after- 
wards was commanded by Colonel Johnson to go with 
him to Montreal on business of importance, which 
effectually barred his undertaking any thing further 
that winter. 

It afforded her many pleasing reflections when she 
heard that six of her relatives were freed from their 
difficulties, and Thomas Peart visiting her again, con- 
tributed, in some measure, to reanimate her with 
fresh hopes of obtaining her own freedom. They 
fixed upon a scheme of carrying her off privately ; 
but when they gave time for a full reflection, it was 
evidently attended with too great danger, as it would 
undoubtedly have much enraged the Indians, and per- 
haps the life of every one concerned would have been 
forfeited by such indiscretion. During the course of 
this winter she suffered many hardships and severe 
disappointments, and being without a friend to un- 
bosom her sorrows to, they appeared to increase by 



CAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 343 

concealment ; but making a virtue of necessity, she 
summoned up a firmness of resolution, and was sup- 
ported under her discouragement beyond her own 
expectations. 

The youth and inexperience of her cousin did not 
allow a sufficient confidence in him, but she had often 
to interest herself in an attention to, and oversight 
of, his conduct ; and it was in some measure owing to 
this care, that he retained his desire to return to his 
people. Colonel Butler sent a string of wampum to 
the Indian chief, who immediately called a number of 
the Indians together upon this occasion, when they 
concluded to go down to Niagara, where they under- 
stood the design of the treaty was for the freedom of 
the remainder of the prisoners ; for especial orders 
were issued by General Haldimand, at Quebec, that 
their liberty should be obtained. At this council-fire 
it was agreed that they should surrender up the pri- 
soners. When they returned, they informed Rebecca 
that Butler had a desire to see her, which was the only 
information she could gain ; this being a frequent 
custom among them to offer a very slight surmise of 
their intentions. 

After this the whole family moved about six miles 
further up Lake Erie, where they staid about two 
months to gather their annual store of maple sugar, 
of which they made a considerable quantity. As soon 
as the season for this business was over, they returned 
to their own settlement, where they had not continued 



344 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

long, before an Indian came with an account that an 
astonishing number of young pigeons might be pro- 
cured at a certain place, by felling trees that were 
filled with nests of young, and the distance was com- 
puted to be about fifty miles ; this information de 
lighted the several tribes ; they speedily joined to- 
gether, young and old, from different parts, and with 
great assiduity pursued their expedition, and took an 
abundance of the young ones, which they dried in the 
sun and with smoke, and filled several bags which 
they had taken with them for this purpose. Benjamin 
Gilbert was permitted to accompany them in this ex- 
cursion, which must have been a curious one for whole 
tribes to be engaged in. 

As the time approached when, according to appoint- 
ment, they were to return to Niagara and deliver up 
the prisoners, they gave Rebecca the agreeable infor- 
mation, in order to allow her some time to make pre- 
paration. She made them bread for their journey 
with great cheerfulness. The Indians, to the number 
of thirty, attended on this occasion, with the two cap- 
tives. They went as far as Fort Slusher in a bark 
canoe. It was several days before they reached 
Niagara Fort, as they went slowly on foot. After 
attending at Colonel Butler's, and conferring upon 
this occasion, in consideration of some valuable pre- 
sents made them, they released the two last of the 
captives, Rebecca Gilbert and Benjamin Gilbert jr. 

As speedily as they were enabled, their Indian dress 



JAPTIVITY OF THE GILBERT FAMILY. 345 

was exchanged for the more customary and agreeable 
one of the Europeans ; and on the 3rd of June, 1782, 
two days after their release, they sailed for Montreal. 
On the 22d of August, attended by a great number 
of the inhabitants of that place, they embarked in boats 
prepared for them, and took their departure for home ; 
and on the 28th of the following month, arrived at 
Byberry, the place of their nativity, where Elizabeth 
and her children Avere once more favored with the 
agreeable opportunity of seeing and conversing with 
her ancient mother, together with their other nearest 
relatives and friends, to their mutual joy and satis- 
faction ; under which happy circumstances we now 
leave them. 

We have condensed the foregoing narrative from 
an anonymous work, entitled "Incidents of Border 
Life," 



THE EVENTFUL SHOT. 

THE following narrative is given in the " Ohio His- 
torical Collections." Mr. Joel Thorp, with bis wife 
moved with an ox team, in May, 1799, from North 
Haven, Connecticut, to Millsford, in Ashtabula county, 
and they were the first settlers in that region. They 
soon had a small clearing on and about an old beaver 
dam, which was very rich and mellow. Towards the 
first of June, the family being short of provisions, Mr. 
Thorp started off alone to procure some, through the 
wilderness, with no guide but a pocket compass, to the 
nearest settlement, about twenty miles distant, in 
Pennsylvania. His family, consisting of Mrs. Thorp 
and three children, the oldest child, Basil, being but 
eight years of age, were before his return reduced to 
extremities for the want of food. They were compelled, 
in a measure, to dig for and subsist on roots, which 
yielded but little nourishment. The children in vain 
asked for food, promising to be satisfied with the least 
(346) 



THE EVENTFUL SHOT. 347 

possible portion. The boy Basil remembered to have 
seen some kernels of corn in a crack of one of the logs 
of the cabin, and passed hours in a unsuccessful search 
for them. Mrs. Thorp emptied the straw out of her 
bed and picked it over to obtain the little wheat it 
contained, which she boiled and gave to her children. 
Her husband, it seems, had taught her to shoot at a 
mark, in which she acquired great skill. When all 
her means for procuring food were exhausted, she 
saw, as she stood in her cabin door, a wild turkey 
flying near. She took down her husband's rifle, and, 
on looking for ammunition, was surprised to find only 
sufficient for a small charge. Carefully cleaning the 
barrel, so as not to lose any by its sticking to the 
sides as it went down, she set some apart for priming, 
and loaded the piece with the remainder, and started 
in pursuit of the turkey, reflecting that on her success 
depended the lives of herself and children. Under the 
excitement of her feelings she came near defeating 
her object, by frightening the turkey, which flew a 
short distance and again alighted in a potato patch. 
Upon this, she returned to the house and waited until 
the fowl had begun to wallow in the loose earth. On 
her second approach, she acted with great caution and 
coolness, creeping slyly on her hands and knees from 
log to log until she had gained the last obstruction 
between herself and the desired object. It was now 
a trying moment, and a crowd of emotions passed 
through her mind as she lifted the rifle to a level with 



348 HEROIC WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

her eye. She fired ; the result was fortunate : the 
turkey was killed and herself and family preserved 
from death by her skill. Mrs. Thorp married three 
times. Her first husband was killed, in Canada, in the 
\var of 1812 ; her second was supposed to have been 
murdered. Her last husband's name was Gordiner. 
died in Orange, November 1st, 1846. 



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