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Full text of "Pioneer women of the West"

University of California Berkeley 



PIONEER WOMEN 



OF THE WEST. 



BY MES. ELLET, 

ATTTHQB OF "XITB WOMEN OF TUB AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 1 * DTO. 



NEW YORK: 

CHARLES SCRIBNER, 145 NASSAU STREET. 
1852. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by 

CHAELES SCRIBNEK, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District 
of New York. 



Stereotyped and Printed by 
C. W. BENEDICT, 
201 William Street 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



PREFACE. 

AN appropriate supplement to the memoirs of the 
" Women of the American Kevohition," is the story of 
the wives and mothers who ventured into the western 
wilds, and bore their part in the struggles and labors of 
the early pioneers. Indeed, so obvious a consequence of 
the Revolution was the diffusion of the spirit of emigra- 
tion, that the one work naturally calls for the other, the 
domestic history of the period being incomplete without 
it. To supply this want, very little published material 
existed, and that little in the shape of brief anecdotes, 
scattered through historical collections made in several 
Western States, and scarcely known in other parts of the 
Union. But a vast store might be yielded from the 
records of private families, and the still vivid recollec- 
tions of individuals who had passed through the expe- 
riences of frontier and forest life, and it was not yet too 



vi PREFACE. 

late to save from oblivion much that would be the more 
interesting and valuable, as the memory of those primi- 
tive times receded into the past. 

Application has been made, accordingly, to the proper 
sources throughout the Western States, and the result 
enables me to offer such a series of authentic sketches as 
will not only exhibit the character of many pioneer 
matrons characters that would pass for strongly marked 
originals in any fiction but will afford a picture of the 
times in the progressive settlement of the whole country, 
from Tennessee to Michigan. To render this picture as 
complete as possible, descriptions of the domestic life and 
manners of the pioneers, and illustrative anecdotes from 
reliable sources, have been interw r oven with the memoirs, 
and notice has been taken of such political events as had 
an influence on the condition of the country. 

All the biographies, except those of Mrs. Boone and 
Mary Moore, have been prepared from private records, 
furnished by relatives or friends, and in two or three 
instances by the subjects. I do not except those of Mrs. 
Williams and Mrs. Rouse, for which I am indebted to the 
courtesy of Dr. S. P. Hildreth, though they appeared in 
a more extended form many years since, in a Western 
periodical of limited circulation. My grateful acknowl- 
edgments are due to Mr. Milton A. Haynes, of Tennessee, 



, : . PREFACE. Vil 

for the memoirs of Mrs. Bledsoe, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. 
Shelby, written for this work ; and also to Mr. A. "W". 
Putnam, of Nashville, Tennessee, for those of Mrs. 
Sevier and Mrs. Sparks. Both in Tennessee and Ohio I 
had access to valuable manuscripts belonging to the 
Historical Societies, and to letters in the possession of 
individuals. For most of the sketches illustrative of 
Michigan, included in those of Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Bryan, 
Mrs. Rumsey and Mrs. Noble, I have pleasure in acknowl- 
edging my obligations to an accomplished friend Miss 
Mary H. Clark of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The published 
works from* which extracts have been made, are generally 
mentioned, and a repetition of authorities would be 
unnecessary. Flint's Life of Boone, Dr. Hildreth's Notes 
on the Pioneer History of Ohio, HDWC'S Historical Col- 
lections of Ohio, and Lanman's History of Michigan, 
have chiefly aided me, though a vast number of other 
books have been consulted. 

A word may be permitted here as to the proprietorship 
of memoirs prepared from original materials derived 
from private sources. It seems reasonable that the exclu- 
sive right should belong to the one who procures and 
works up such materials ; and that no other person can, 
without a violation of the principles of common justice, 
make use of the memoirs to such an extent as to inter 



Vlll PREFACE. 

fere with the interests of the original work. This remark 
is called forth by the fact that a volume was published in 
Buffalo, in 1851, entitled "Noble Deeds of American 
Women, with Biographical Sketches of some of the more 
prominent" in which thirty-eight sketches prepared 
entirely from original manuscripts, (the subjects not even 
named in any other published work,) were taken from the 
volumes of " The Women of the American ^Revolution," 
twenty-six of them being appropriated, in an abridged 
form, without the slightest acknowledgment. 

E. F. E. 



CONTENTS 



Page 

I. MARY BLEDSOE, 13 

II. CATHARINE SEVIER, . . . . . .29 

III. REBECCA BOONE, ...... 42 

MRS. MASON, ....... 58 

ANNA INNIS, . . . . . . .61 

SARAH COMBS, ....... 62 

IV. CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON, ..... 63 
MRS. DUNHAM, . . . . . . .75 

V. JANE BROWN, ....... 79 

SARAH WILSON, 106 

VI. MARY MOORE, . . . . . . .110 

MRS. DENIS, Ill 

MRS. CLENDENIN, . . . . .112 

MRS. CUNNINGHAM, 113 

MRS. SCOTT, . . . . . . 115 

MRS. GLASS, . 118 

VII. ANN HAYNES, .145 

VIII. RUTH SPARKS, .... ... 153 



X CONTENTS. 

Page 
IX. SARAH SHELBY, ... ... 162 

X. REBECCA WILLIAMS, , 1*71 

LOUISA ST. CLAIB, . . , . .178 

MRS. LAKE, . . . . . . .185 

SALLY WARTH, . . . . . .191 

JANE DICK, .... . 193 

MARY HECKEWELDER, .193 

RUHAMA GREENE, 196 

XI. REBECCA ROUSE, 199 

XII. SARAH SIBLEY, 225 

XIII. MARY DUNLEVY, 226 

XIV. ANN BAILEY, 245 

XV. ELIZABETH HARPER, 254 

SARAH THORP, . . . .... 266 

MRS. WALWORTH, 271 

MRS. CARTER, 272 

XVI. ELIZABETH TAPPEN, . . . . . .274 

XVII. REBECCA HEALD, " '281 

MRS. HELM, 302 

MRS. SNOW, 303 

MRS. LEMEN, MRS. EDWARDS, . . . .304 

XVIII. ABIGAIL SNELLING, . . . . . .305 

XIX. MARY McMiLLAN, 338 

XX. CHARLOTTE A. CLARK, ..... 350 

CHARLOTTE GEER, . . . . . .357 

MRS. CLARK, .... . . .359 

XXI. SARAH BRYAN, . 361 

SYLVIA CHAPIN, . . . . . . .367 

MRS. ST. JOHN, MRS. LOVEJOY, . . . . 368 



CONTFNT3. XI 

Page 

LUCY CHAPIN, . 370 

MRS. ANDERSON,. '. . . . . .373 

ELIZA BULL, MRS. HARAZTHY, . . . .374 

XXIL MARY ANN RUMSEY, 376 

ANN ALLEN, 382 

ELIZABETH ALLEN, 382 

XXIII. HARRIET L. NOBLE, . . . . . .388 

FRANCES TRASK, 397 

MRS. SCOTT, MRS. TALBOT, MRS. GOODRICH, . 400 

MRS. COMSTOCK, . 401 

MRS. WOODWARD, 402 

XXIV. JOURNAL, 403 

XXY. ELIZABETH KENTON, 428 



THE PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



I 



MARY BLEDSOE. 



" Men's due deserts each reader may recite, 

For men of men do make a goodly show ; 
But women's works can seldom come to light, 
No mortal man their famous acts may know ; 
Few writers will a little time bestow, 
The worthy acts of women to repeat ; 
Though their renown and the deserts be great." 



THE poet's complaint might be made with peculiar justice in the 
case of American women who followed the earliest adventurers into 
the unknown forests of the. West. One of their own number often 
said " A good Providence sent such men and women into the 
world together. They were made to match." Such a race will 
probably never again live in this country. The progress of im- 
provement, art, and luxury, has a tendency to change the female 
character, so that even a return of the perils of war, or the neces- 
sity for exertion, would hardly develop in it the strength which be- 
longed to the matrons who nursed the infancy of the Eepublic. 
They were formed by early training in habits of energetic industry, 
and familiarity with privation and danger, to take their part in sub- 



14 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

duing the wilderness for the advance of civilization. Though their 
descendants cannot emulate their heroic deeds, it will be a pleasing 
task to call up recollections of them ; to observe their patient endur- 
ance of hardship, and to compare their homely but honest exterior 
with the accomphshment and graces of the sex in modern days. 

A large portion of the history of the early settlers of the West 
has never been recorded in any published work. It is full of per- 
sonal adventure, and no power of imagination could create materials 
more replete with romantic interest than their simple experience 
afforded. The training of those hardy pioneers in their frontier 
life ; the daring with which they penetrated the vrilderness, plunging 
into trackless forests, and encountering the savage tribes, whose hunt- 
ing grounds they had invaded, and the sturdy perseverance with 
which they overcame all difficulties, compel our wondering admira- 
tion. It has been truly said of them, " The greater part of man- 
kind might derive advantage from the contemplation of their hum- 
ble virtues, hospitable homes, and spirits patient, noble, proud, and 
free ; their self-respect, grafted on innocent thoughts ; their days of 
health and nights of sleep; their toils by danger dignified, yet 
guiltless ; their hopes of a cheerful old age and a quiet grave." 

But less attention has been given to their exploits and sufferings 
than they deserve, because the accounts read are too vague and 
general ; the picture not being brought near, nor exhibited with 
lifelike proportions and coloring. A collection of memoirs of women 
must of necessity include some reliable account of the domestic and 
daily life of those heroic adventurers, and may perhaps supply the 
deficiency. Commencing with the first colonists of Tennessee, which 
claims priority of settlement, we light upon a name associated with 
its early annals, and distinguished among pioneers that of Bledsoe. 
But before entering on a sketch of this family, a brief view may be 
given of the general sta4e of the country. 

Until the year 1700, the territory of North Carolina and Ten- 
nessee, and an indefinite region extending south-west and north-west, 
in the language of the royal British charters, to the South Seas, was 
known as " our county of Albemarle, in Carolina." Even as late as 



MARY BLEDSOE. 15 

1750, the country lying west of the Apalachian mountains was 
wholly unknown to the people of the Carolinas and Virginia. 
When, a few years later, the British army under Braddock crossed 
the mountains from Maryland and Pennsylvania, and marched to 
Fort Du Quesne, that march was described by the writers of the 
times as an advance into the deep recesses and fastnesses of a 
savage wilderness. At that time the French owned all the Canadas, 
the valley of the Ohio and all its tributaries, and claimed the rest 
of the continent to the confines of Mexico, westward from the Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers. The old French maps of that period, and the 
journals and letters of French traders and hunters, together with the 
traditions of the Indians, afford the only reliable information in rela- 
tion to the then condition of the country now composing Kentucky and 
Tennessee. In the French maps of those times, the Kentucky, Hol- 
ston, Tennessee, and Ohio are laid down. The Kentucky is 
called Cataway, the Holston the Cherokee, and the Little Tennes- 
see the Tanasees. This river, after the junction of the Holston and 
Tennessee, is called Ho-go-hegee, and the only Indian town marked 
on its banks is at the mouth of Bear Creek, near the north-west 
corner of Alabama. There were forts which were little more than 
trading posts, at several points on the Ohio and Mississippi ; Fort 
Du Quesne, where Pittsburg now stands, and one at the mouth of 
the Kenhawa river ; another at the mouth of the Kentucky, and 
Fort Vincennes, near the mouth of the Oubach, or Wabash ; Fort 
Massac, half way between the mouth of the Ohio and the Tennes- 
see, on the Illinois side, and another on the Tennessee, twelve miles 
above its mouth. They also Jiad a fort where Memphis now stands, 
called Prud'homme ; another . at the mouth of the Arkansas, called 
Ackensa ; another near Natchez, and one at the junction of the 
Coosa and Tallapoosa, called Halabamas. South of these last forts, 
the Spaniards had possession in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. The 
greater part of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Western Virginia, was 
represented on these maps as wholly uninhabited. Certain it is that 
not more than a dozen years afterwards, when the pioneers of Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky first explored that region, they found the 



16 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

baoks of the Watauga, Cumberland, and Kentucky, with their 
tributaries, in this state. It was all one vast wilderness, into 
which hunting parties of Indians from its distant borders entered 
and roamed in pursuit of game, but in which they made no perma- 
nent lodgment. Numerous warlike nations lived south, west, and 
north of this wilderness, and hither it was that the lion-hearted 
pioneers of the Cumberland and Watauga came, with axe and rifle, 
to subdue at once the savage and the forest. 

In 1758, Col. Bird, of the British army, established Fort Chissel 
in Wyth county, Virginia, to protect the frontiers, and, advancing 
into what is now Sullivan county, Tennessee, built a fort near Long 
[sland, on the Holston or Watauga. There was not then a single 
white man living in the borders of Tennessee. The year before, 
Governor Dobbs of North Carolina had, at the request of the 
Cherokee Indians, built Fort Lowdon, and the Indians agreed to 
make grants of land to all artisans who would settle among them. 
Fort Lowdon was on the Little Tennessee, near the mouth of Tel- 
Hco river, in the centre of the Cherokee nation, and about one hun- 
dred miles south of the fort at Long Island. Between these forts 
were the first settlements, which struggled for several years against 
the fearful ravages of Indian wars, before the beginning of the 
Revolution. 

At irregular intervals from 1*765 to 1769, came pioneer parties 
from Virginia and North Carolina, forming " camps," " settlements," 
and " stations." Some of the earliest emigrants were from Raleigh 
and Salisbury, and settled upon the Watauga. The first settlement 
attempted on the spot where Nashville now stands, is said to havo 
been in 1778, the " French Lick," as the locality was named, having 
been discovered, according to Hay wood, in 1769 or 17 70, by a 
party of adventurers, who were descending the Cumberland on their 
way to Natchez, to dispose of articles which they had, and purchase 
others which they wanted. They saw an immense number of buf- 
faloes and wild game. The lick and adjoining lands were crowded 
with them, and their bellowing resounded from the hills and forest. 
The place had previously been visited by French hunters and trap- 



MARY BLEDSOE. 17 

pcrs from the north. The surrounding hills were then covered with 
cedars, whose foliage deeply shaded the rocky soil from which they 
sprung, and there was no appearance of former cultivation. No 
prospect spread before the eye but woods and cane, inhabited by 
buffaloes, elks, wolves, foxes, and other wild animals. Not deterred 
by the neighborhood of these, or fiercer savages, the new comers 
here erected cabins, constructed a stockade fort, and maintained 
possession against several attacks by the Indians. 

Two brothers of the name of Bledsoe Englishmen by birth, 
were living in 1769 at Fort Chissel, then upon the extreme border 
of civilization. It was not long before they removed further into 
the wild, and they were among the earliest pioneers in the valley of 
the Holston. This portion of country, now Sullivan county, was at 
that time supposed to be within the limits of Virginia. The Bled- 
soes, with the Shelbys, settled themselves about twelve miles above 
the Island Flats. The beauty of that mountainous region attracted 
others, who, impelled by the same spirit of adventure and pride in 
being the first to explore the wilderness, came to join them in estab- 
lishing the colony. They cheerfully ventured their property and 
lives, and endured the severest privations in taking possession of 
their new homes, influenced by the love of independence and 
equality. The most dearly prized rights of man had been threat- 
ened in the oppressive system adopted by Great Britain towards her 
colonies ; her agents and the colonial magistrates manifested all the 
insolence of authority ; and individuals who had suffered from 
their aggressions bethought themselves of a country beyond the 
mountains, in the midst of primeval forests, where no laws existed 
save the law of nature no magistrate, except those selected by 
themselves ; where full liberty of conscience, of speech, and of 
action prevailed. Yet almost in the first year they formed a written 
code of regulations by which they agreed to be governed ; each 
man signing his name thereto. These settlements formed by par- 
ties of emigrants from neighboring provinces were not, in their con- 
stitution, unlike those of New Haven and Hartford ; but among 
them was no godly Hooker, no learned and heavenly-minded 



18 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Haynes. As, however, from the first they were exposed to the 
continual depredations and assaults of their savage neighbors, who 
looked with jealous eyes upon the approach of the white men, it 
was perhaps well that there were among them few men of letters. 
The rifle and the axe, their only weapons of civilization, suited better 
the perils they encountered from the fierce and marauding Shaw- 
nees, Chickamangas, Creeks, and Cherokees, than would the bro- 
therly address of William Penn, or the pious discourses of Roger 
Williams. 

During the first year, not more than fifty families had crossed the 
mountains ; but others came with each revolving season to reinforce 
the little settlement, until its population swelled to hundreds. Dur- 
ing the Revolutionary struggle, that region became the refuge of 
many patriots driven by British invasion from Virginia, the Caro- 
linas, and Georgia, some of the best families seeking homes there. 
Patriotic republicans who had sacrificed everything for their country, 
hoped to find in the secluded vales and thick forests of the West 
that peace and quiet which they had not found amidst the din of 
civil and foreign war. But they soon experienced the horrors of 
savage warfare, which swept away their property, and often robbed 
them of their wives and children, either by a barbarous death or 
slavery as captives dragged into the wild recesses of the Indian bor- 
ders. They took up their residence, for mutual aid and protection, 
in clusters around different stations, within a short distance of one 
another, and many lived in the forts. Notwithstanding the frequent 
and terrible inroads upon their numbers, they increased to thousands 
within ten or fifteen years. 

Not long after the Bledsoes established themselves upon the 
banks of the Holston, Col. Anthony Bledsoe, who was an excellent 
surveyor, was appointed clerk to the commissioners who ran the 
line dividing Virginia and North Carolina. Bledsoe had before 
this ascertained that Sullivan County was comprised within the 
boundaries of the latter province. In June, 1776, he was chosen 
by the inhabitants of the county to the command of the militia. 
The office imposed on him the dangerous duty of repelling the 



MAKY BLEDSOE. 19 

i 

savages and defending the frontier. He had often to call out the 
militia and lead them to meet their Indian assailants, whom they 
would pursue to their villages through the recesses of the forest. 
In this month more than seven hundred Indian warriors advanced 
upon the settlements on the Holston, with the avowed object of ex- 
terminating the white race through all their borders. The battle of 
Long Island," fought a few miles below Bledsoe's station, near the 
Island Flats, was one of the earliest and hardest fought battles 
known in the traditionary history of Tennessee. Col. Bledsoe, at 
the head of the militia, marched to meet the enemy, and in the 
conflict which ensued was completely victorious ; the Indians being 
routed, and leaving forty dead upon the field. This disastrous de- 
feat for a time held them in check ; but the spirit of savage hostility 
was invincible, and in the years following there was* a constant suc- 
cession of Indian troubles, in which. Col. Bledsoe was conspicuous for 
his bravery and services. 

In 1779, Sullivan County having been recognized as a part of 
North Carolina, Governor Caswell appointed Anthony Bledsoe colo- 
nel, and Isaac Shelby lieutenant-colonel, of its military company. 
About the beginning of July of the following year, General Charles 
McDowell, who commanded a district east of the mountains, sent to 
Bledsoe a dispatch, giving him an account of the condition of the 
country. The surrender of Charleston had brought the State of 
South Carolina under British power; the people had been sum- 
moned to return to their allegiance, and resistance was ventured 
only by a few resolute spirits, determined to brave death rather than 
submit to the invader. The whigs had fled into North Carolina, 
whence they returned as soon as they were able to oppose the ene- 
my. Colonels Tarleton and Ferguson had advanced towards North 
Carolina at the head of their soldiery ; and McDowell ordered Col. 
Bledsoe to rally the militia of his county, and come forward in 
readiness to assist in repelling the invader's approach. Similar dis- 
patches were sent to Col. Sevier and other officers, and the patriots 
were not slow in obeying the summons. 

While the British Colonel Ferguson, under the ordeijB of Corn- 



20 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

wallis, was sweeping the country near the frontier, gathering the 
loyalists under his standard and driving back the whigs, against 
whom fortune seemed to have decided, a resolute band was assem- 
bled for their succor far up among the mountains. From a popula- 
tion of five or six thousand, not more than twelve hundred of them 
fighting men, a body of near five hundred mountaineers, armed with 
rifles and clad in leathern hunting-shirts, was gathered. The anger 
of these sons of liberty had been stirred up by an insolent message 
received from Col. Ferguson, that " if they did not instantly lay 
down their arms, he would come over the mountains and whip their 
republicanism out of them ;" and they were eager for an opportunity 
of showing what regard they paid to his threats. 

At this juncture, Col. Isaac Shelby returned from Kentucky, where 
he had been surveying land for the great company of land specula- 
tors headed by Henderson, Hart, and others. The young officer 
was betrothed to Miss Susan Hart, a belle celebrated among the 
western settlements at that period, and it was shrewdly suspected 
that his sudden return from the wilds of Kentucky was to be attri- 
buted to the attractions of that young lady ; notwithstanding that 
due credit is given to the patriot, in recent biographical sketches, for 
an ardent wish to aid his countrymen in their struggle for liberty 
by his active services at the scene of conflict. On his arrival at 
Bledsoe's, it was a matter of choice with the colonel whether he 
should himself go forth and march at the head of the advancing 
army of volunteers, or yield the command to Shelby. It was 
necessary for one to remain behind, for the danger to the defenceless 
inhabitants of the country was even greater from the Indians than 
the British ; and it was obvious that the ruthless savage would take 
immediate advantage of the departure of a large body of fighting 
men, to fall upon the enfeebled frontier. Shelby on his part insisted 
that it was the duty of Bledsoe, whose family, relatives, and defence- 
less neighbors looked to him for protection, to stay with the troops 
at home for the purpose of repelling the expected Indian assault. 
For himself, he urged, he had no family to guard, or who might 
mourn his loss, and it was better that he should advance with the 



MAEY BLEDSOE. 21 

troops to join McDowell. No one could tell where might be the 
post of danger and honor, at home or on the other side of the 
mountains. The arguments he used no doubt corresponded with his 
friend's own convictions, his sense of duty to his family, and of true 
regard to the welfare of his country ; and the deliberation resulted 
in his relinquishment of the command to his junior officer. It was 
thus that the conscientious, though not ambitious patriot, lost the 
honor of commanding in one of the most distinguished actions of 
the Revolutionary war. 

Col. Shelby took the command of those gallant mountaineers who 
encountered the forces of Ferguson at King's Mountain on the 7th 
October, 1780. Three days after that splendid victory, Bledsoe re- 
ceived from him an official dispatch giving an account of the battle. 
The daughter of Col. Bledsoe well remembered having heard this dis- 
patch read by her father, though it has probably long since shared 
the fate of other valuable family papers. 

When the hero of King's Mountain, wearing the victor's wreath, 
returned to his friends, he found that his betrothed had departed 
with her father for Kentucky, leaving for him no request to follow, 
Sarah, the above mentioned daughter of Col. Bledsoe, often rallied 
the young officer, who spent considerable time at her father's, upon 
this cruel desertion. He would reply by expressing much indigna- 
tion at the treatment he had received at the hands of the fair 
coquette, and protesting that he would not follow her to Kentucky, 
nor ask her of her father ; he would wait for little Sarah Bledsoe, a 
far prettier bird, he would aver, than the one that had flown away. 
The maiden, then some twelve or thirteen years of age, would laugh- 
ingly return his bantering by saying he " had better wait, indeed, 
and see if he could win Miss Bledsoe who could not win Miss Hart.'' 
The arch damsel was not wholly in jest ; for a youthful kinsman ol 
the colonel David Shelby, a lad of seventeen or eighteen, who had 
fought by his side at King's Mountain had already gained her 
youthful affections. She remained true to this early love, though 
her lover was only a private soldier. And it may be well to record 
that the gallant colonel, who thus threatened infidelity to his, did 



22 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

actually, notwithstanding his protestations, go to Kentucky the fol- 
lowing year, and was married to Miss Susan Hart, who made him a 
faithful and excellent wife. 

During the whole of the trying period that intervened between 
the first settlement of east Tennessee and the close of the Revolu- 
tionary struggle, Col. Bledsoe, with his brother and kinsmen, was 
almost incessantly engaged in the strife with their Indian foes, as 
well as in the laborious enterprise of subduing the forest, and con- 
verting the tangled wilds into the husbandman's fields of plenty. In 
these varied scenes of trouble and trial, of toil and danger, the men 
were aided and encouraged by the women. Mary Bledsoe, the 
colonel's wife, was a woman of remarkable energy, and noted for her 
independence both of thought and action. She never hesitated to 
expose herself to danger whenever she thought it her duty to brave 
it ; and when Indian hostilities were most fierce, when their homes 
were frequently invaded by the murderous savage, and females 
struck down by the tomahawk or carried into captivity, she was 
foremost in urging her husband and friends to go forth and meet the 
foe, instead of striving to detain them for the protection of her own 
household. During this time of peril and watchfulness, little atten- 
tion could have been given to books, even had the pioneers possessed 
them ; but the Bible, the Confession of Faith, and a few such works 
as Baxter's Call, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, etc., were generally to 
be found in the library of every resident on the frontier. 

About the close of the year 1779, Col. Bledsoe and his brothers, 
with a few friends, crossed the Cumberland mountains, descended 
into the valley of Cumberland River, and explored the beautiful 
region on its banks. Delighted with its shady woods, its herds of 
buffaloes, its rich and genial soil, and its salubrious climate, their re- 
port on their return induced many of the inhabitants of East Ten- 
nessee to resolve on seeking a new ^ome in the Cumberland Valley. 
The Bledsoes did not remove their families thither until three years 
afterwards ; but the idea of settling the valley originated with them ; 
they were the first to explore 'it, and it was in consequence of their 
report and advice that the expedition was fitted out, under the direc- 



MARY BLEDSOE. 23 

tion of Captain (afterwards General) Robertson and Col. John Don- 
aldson, to establish the earliest -colony in that part of the country.* 

The daughter of Col. Bledsoe has in her possession letters that 
passed between her father and J&en. Robertson, in which repeated 
allusions are made, to the fact that to his suggestions and counsel was 
owing the first thought of emigration to the valley. In 1784, An- 
thony Bledsoe removed with his family to the new settlement of 
which he had thus been one of the founders. His brother, Col. 
Isaac Bledsoe, had gone the year before. They took up their resi- 
dence in what is now Sumner County, and established a fort or sta- 
tion at " Bledsoe's Lick " now known as the .Castalian Springs. 
The families being .thus united, and the eldest daughter of Anthony 
married to David Shelby, the station became a rallying point for an 
extensive district surrounding it. The Bledsoes were used to fight- 
ing with the Indians ; they were men of well known energy and 
courage, and their fort was the place to which the settlers looked for 
protection the colonels being the acknowledged leaders of the 
pioneers in their neighborhood, and the terror, far and near, of the 
savage marauders. Anthony was also a member of the North 
Carolina Legislature from Sumner County. 

From 1780 to 1795, a continual warfare was kept up by the 
Creeks and Cherokees against the inhabitants of the valley. The 
history of this time would be a fearful record of scenes of bloody 
strife and atrocious barbarity. Several hundred persons fell victims 
to the ruthless foe, who spared neither age nor sex ; and many women 
and children were carried far from their friends into hopeless captivity. 
The settlers were frequently robbed and their negro slaves taken 
away ; in the course of a few years two thousand holies were stolen ; 
their cattle and hogs were destroyed, their houses and barns burned, 
and their plantations laid waste. In consequence of these incursions, 
many of the inhabitants gathered together at the stations on the 
frontier, and established themselves under military rule for the pro- 

* For an account of this expedition, and the planting of the settlement, 
see the memoir of Sarah Buchanan, Women of the American Revolution. 
Vol. iii. p. 310. 



24 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

tection of the interior settlements. During this desperate period, the 
pursuits of the farmer could not be abandoned ; lands were to be 
surveyed and marked, and fields cleared and cultivated, by men who 
could not venture beyond their own doors without arms in their 
hands. The labors of those active and vigilant leaders, the Bledsoes, 
in supporting and defending the colony, were indefatigable. Nor 
was the heroic matron the subject of this sketch less active in 
her appropriate sphere of action. Her family consisted of seven 
daughters and five sons, the eldest of whom, Sarah Shelby, was not 
more than eighteen when they came to Sumner. Mrs. Bledsoe was 
almost the only instructor of these children, the family being left to 
her sole charge while her husband was engaged in his toilsome 
duties, or harassed with the cares incident to an uninterrupted border 
warfare. 

Too soon was this devoted wife and mother called upon to suffer 
a far deeper calamity than any she had yet experienced. Anthony 
Bledsoe had removed his family into his brother Isaac's fort at Bled- 
soe's Lick. On the night of the 20th of- July, 1788, a number of 
Indians approached, and placed themselves in ambush about forty 
yards in front of a passage dividing the log houses occupied by the 
two families. To draw the men out, they then sent some of their 
party to cause an alarm by riding rapidly through a lane passing 
near. Roused by the noise, Col. Anthony Bledsoe rose and went to 
the gate. As he opened it, he was shot down, the same shot killing 
an Irish servant, named Campbell, who had been long devotedly 
attached to him. The colonel did not expire immediately, but was 
carried back into the house, while preparations were made for 
defence by Gen. William Hall, and the portholes manned till break 
of day. The wife of Isaac Bledsoe suggested to her husband, and 
afterwards to her brother-in-law, in view of the near approach of 
death, that it was proper to make provision for his daughters. He 
had surveyed large tracts of land, and had secured grants for seve- 
ral thousand acres, which constituted nearly his whole property. 
The law of North Carolina at that time gave all the lands to the 
sons, to the exclusion of the daughters. In consequence, should 



MARY BLEDSOE. 25 

the colonel die without^a will, his seven young daughters would be 
left destitute. In this hour of bitter trial, Mrs. Bledsoe's thoughts 
too were not alone of her own sufferings, and the deadly peril that 
hung over them, but of the provision necessary for the helpless ones , 
dependent on her care. Writing materials were procured, and hav- 
ing called Clendening to draw up the will, he being too much agi- 
tated to write, Isaac Bledsoe supported his dying brother while 
affixing his signature. Thus a portion of land was assigned to each 
of the daughters, who in after life had reason to remember with 
gratitude the presence of mind and affectionate care of their aunt. 

Mrs. Bledsoe's sufferings from Indian hostility were not termi- 
nated by this overwhelming stroke. A brief list of those who fell 
victims, among her family and kinsmen, may afford some idea of 
the trials she endured, and of the strength of character which ena- 
bled her to bear up, and to support others, under such terrible 
experiences. In January, 1793, her son Anthony, then seventeen 
years of age, w^ile passing near the 'present site of Nashville, was 
shot through the body, and severely wounded, by a party of Indians 
in ambush. He was pursued to the gates of a neighboring fort. 
Not a month afterwards, her eldest son, Thomas, was also despe- 
rately wounded by the savages, and escaped with difficulty from their 
hands. Early in the following April, he was shot dead near his 
mother's house, and scalped by the murderous Indians. On the 
same day, Col. Isaac Bledsoe was killed and scalped by a party of 
about twenty Creek Indians, who beset him in the field, and cut off 
his retreat to his station near at hand. 

In April, 1794, Anthony, the son of Mrs. Bledsoe, and his cousin 
of the same name, were shot by a party of Indians, near the house 
of Gen. Smith, on Drake Creek, ten miles from Gallatin. The lads 
were going to school, and were then on their way to visit Mrs. Sarah 
Shelby, the sister of Anthony, who lived on Station Camp Creek. 

Some time afterwards, Mrs. Bledsoe was on the road from Bled- 
soe's Lick to the above mentioned station, where the court of Sum- 
ner County was at that time held. Her object was to attend to 
some business connected with the estate of her late husband. She 



26 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

was escorted on her way by the celebrated Thomas Sharp Spencer, 
and Robert Jones. The party was waylaid and fired upon by a large 
body of Indians. Jones was severely wounded, and turning, rode 
rapidly back for about two miles ; after which, he fell dead from his 
horse. The savages advanced boldly upon the others, intending to 
take them prisoners. 

It was not consistent with Spencer's chivalrous character to at- 
tempt to save himself by leaving his companion to the mercy of the 
foe. Bidding her retreat as fast as possible and encouraging her to 
keep her seat firmly, he protected her by following more slowly in 
her rear, with his trusty rifle in his hand. When the Indians in 
pursuit came too near, he would raise his weapon, as if to fire ; and 
as he was known to be an excellent marksman, the savages were 
not willing to encounter him, but hastened to the shelter of trees, 
while he continued his retreat. In this manner he kept them at 
bay for some miles, not firing a single shot for he knew that his 
threatening had more effect until Mrs. Bledsoe reached a station. 
Her life and his own were on this occasion saved by his prudence 
and presence of mind ; for both would have been lost had he yielded 
to the temptation to fire. 

This Spencer for his gallantry and reckless daring named " the 
Chevalier Bayard of Cumberland Valley," was famed for his en- 
counters with the Indians, by whom he had often been shot at, and 
wounded on more than one occasion. His proportions and strength 
were those of a giant, and the wonder-loving people were accus- 
tomed to tell marvellous stories concerning him. It was said that 
at one time, being .unarmed when attacked by Indians, he reached 
into a tree, and wrenching off a hugh bough by main force, drove 
back his assailants with it. He lived for some years alone in Cum- 
berland Valley it is said from 1776 to 1779 before a single 
white man had taken up his abode there ; his dwelling being a 
large hollow tree, the roots of which still remain near Bledsoe's 
Lick. For one year the tradition is a man by the name of Holi- 
day shared his retreat ; but the hollow being not sufficiently spacious 
to accommodate two lodgers, they were under the necessity of sepa- 



MAEY BLEDSOE. 27 

rating, and Holiday departed to seek a home in the valley of the 
Kentucky River. But one difficulty arose ; those dwellers in the 
primeval forest had but one knife between them ! What was to be 
done ? for a knife was an article of indispensable necessity ; it be- 
longed to Spencer, and it would have been madness in the owner 
of such an article to part with it. He resolved to accompany Holi- 
day part of the way on his journey, and went as far as Big Barren 
Kiver. When about to turn back, Spencer's heart relented ; he 
broke the blade of his knife in two, gave half to his friend, and with 
a light heart returned to his hollow tree. Not long after his gallant 
rescue of Mrs. Bledsoe, he was killed by a party of Indians, on the 
road from Nashville to Knoxville. For nearly twenty years he had 
been exposed to every variety of danger, and escaped them all ; 
but his hour came at last, and the dust of the hermit and re- 
nowned warrior of Cumberland Valley now reposes on " Spencer's 
Hill," near the Crab Orchard, on the road between Nashville and 
Knoxville. 

Bereaved of her husband, sons, and brother-in-law by the mur- 
derous savages, Mrs. Bledsoe was obliged alone to undertake, not 
only the charge of her husband's estate, but the care of the children, 
and their education and settlement in life. These duties were dis- 
charged with unwavering energy and Christian patience. Her reli- 
gion had taught her fortitude under her unexampled distresses ; and 
through all this trying period of her life, she exhibited a decision 
and firmness of character, which bespoke no ordinary powers of 
intellect. Her mind, indeed, was of masculine strength, and she 
was remarkable for independence of thought and opinion. In per- 
son she was attractive, being neither tall nor large until advanced 
in life. Her hair was brown, her eyes gray, and her complexion 
fair. Her useful life was closed in the autumn of 1808. The 
record of her worth, and of what she did and suffered, may win 
little attention from the careless many, who regard not the memory 
of our " pilgrim mothers :" but the recollection of her gentle vir- 
tues has not yet faded from the hearts of her descendants ; and 
those to whom they tell the story of her life will acknowledge her 



28 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the worthy companion of those noble men to whom belongs the 
praise of having originated a new colony and built up a goodly 
state in the bosom of the forest. Their patriotic labors, their strug- 
gles with the surrounding savages, their efforts in the maintenance 
of the community they had founded sealed, as they finally were, 
with their own blood, and the blood of their sons and relatives 
will never be forgotten while the apprehension of what is noble, 
generous, and good survives in the hearts of their countiymen. 



II 



CATHARINE SEVIER. 

IN one of the pioneer parties from the banks of the Yadkin, in North 
Carolina, who crossed the rugged mountains to seek new homes in 
the valley of the Watauga, carne Samuel Sh^rrill, with his family 
consisting of several sons and two daughters. One of these daugh- 
ters, Susan, married Col. Taylor, a gentleman of considerable dis- 
tinction ; the other, Catharine, became the second wife of Gen. 
Sevier. Mr. SherrilFs residence was finally upon the ISTola Chucka, 
and known as the Daisy Fields. He was a tiller of the soil, a hard- 
working man, " well to do in the world" for an emigrant of that day, 
and he was skilled. in the use of the rifle, so that it was said, 
" Sherrill can make as much out of the grounds and the woods as 
any other man. He has a hand and eye to his work ; a hand, an 
eye, and an ear for the Indian and the game." 

Buffalo, deer, and wild turkeys came around the tents and cabins 
of those first emigrants. A providence was in this that some of 
them recognized with thankfulness. These settlements encroached 
upon the rights and hunting-grounds of the natives ; and although 
some had been established and permitted, to remain undisturbed for 
several years, yet when Capt. James Robertson arrived from Vir- 
ginia, in 1772, with a large party of emigrants, and selected lands 



30 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

on the Watauga, he endeavored to secure an occupation with the 
approbation of the Indians ; therefore he effected a " lease" from 
the Cherokees of all the lands on the river and its tributaries for 
eight years. 

Jacob Brown, with his family and friends, arrived from North 
Carolina about the same time with the Sherrills, and these two 
families became connected by intermarriage with the Seviers, and 
ever remained faithful to each other through all the hostile and civil 
commotions of subsequent years. The family of Seviers came among 
the very earliest emigrants from Virginia, and aided in the erection 
of the first fort on the Wataua.* 

C5 

With few exceptions, these emigrants had in view the acquisition 
of rich lands for cultivation and inheritance. Some indeed were 
there, or came, who were absconding debtors or refugees from jus- 
tice, and from this class were the tories of North Carolina mostly 
enlisted. 

The spirit of the hunter and pioneer cannot well content itself in 
a permanent location, especially when the crack of a neighbor's 
rifle, or the blast of his hunting-horn may be heard by his quick 
ear ; therefore did these advanced guards often change their homes 
when others crowded them at a mile's distance. It must be remem- 
bered that these advances into the wilderness could only be made 
by degrees, step by step, through years of tedious waiting and toil- 
some preparation. And thus, though they had a lease from the 
Indians, a foothold in the soil, stations of defence, and evidently had 
taken a bond of fate, assuring them in the prospect of rich inheri- 
tances for their children, they could not all abide while the great 
West and greater Future invited onward. Richer lands, larger 
herds of buffaloes, more deer, and withal as many Indians were in 
the distance, upon the Cumberland and Kentucky Rivers. The 
emigrants advanced, and they took no steps backwards. In a few 

# Valentine Zavier (the original family name\ the father of John Sevier, 
was a descend ant from an ancient family in France, but born in London; 
emigrated to America ; settled on the Shenandoah. Va. ; removed thence to 
Watauga, N. C. ; and finally settled on the Nola Chucka. at Plum Grove. 



CATHARINE SEVIEK. 31 

rears they were found organizing " provisional governments upon 
' the dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky, and at the Bluffs, the 
site of the beautiful capital of Tennessee. And these AVatauga and 
Kola Chucka pioneers were the leading spirits throughout. 

Lord Dunmore, in fitting out the expedition against the Indian 
tribes, which ended with the memorable battle of Point Pleasant, 
gave John Sevier the commission of captain. 

In the first Cherokee war of 1776, the early settlements were in 
great danger of being destroyed. The prowling savages picked off 
the emigrants in detail, and being somewhat successful resolved to 
attack the settlements and stations at different points on the same 
day in June, 1776. But they were so defeated in the battles of 
Long Island and at the Island Flats, on the Holston, and in their 
attack and siege of the Watauga Fort, that a happy change was 
wrought, and hopes of quiet were encouraged. The attack on the 
latter station was conducted by an experienced Indian chief, Old 
Abraham, of the Chilhowee Mountain region. It was a fierce attack, 
but the fort fortunately held within it two of the most resolute men 
who have ever touched the soil of Tennessee, and to whom East 
and Middle Tennessee were subsequently more indebted than to 
any other men who have ever lived James Robertson and John 
Sevier they having then no higher titles than captains. Some 
thirty men were under their command or direction. 

The approach of the Indians had been stealthy, and the first 
alarm was given by the flight and screams of some females, who 
were closely pursued by the savages in large force. One of the 
women was killed, and one or two captured. In this party of 
females was Miss Catharine Sherrill, daughter of Samuel Sherrill, 
who had removed into the fort only the day previous. 

Miss Sherrill was already somewhat distinguished for nerve, action, 
and fleetness. It was said " she could outrun or outleap any 
woman ; walk more erect, and ride more gracefully and skilfully 
than any other female in all the mountains round about, or on the 
continent at large." Although at other times she proved herself to 
know no fear, and could remain unmoved when danger threatened, 



32 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

yet on this occasion she admits that she did run, and " run her 
best." She was very tall and erect, and her whole appearance such 
as to attract the especial notice and pursuit of the Indians ; and as 
they intercepted the direct path to the gate of the fort, she made a 
circuit to reach the enclosure on another side, resolved, as she said, 
to scale the walls or palisades. In this effort, some person within 
the defences attempted to aid, but his foot slipped, or the object on 
which he was standing gave way, and both fell to the ground on 
opposite sides of the enclosure. The savages were coming with all 
speed, and firing and shooting arrows repeatedly. Indeed, she said, 
" the bullets and arrows came like hail. It was now leap the wall 
or die ! for I would not live a captive." She recovered from the 
fall, and in a moment was over and within the defences, and " by 
the side of one in uniform." 

This was none other than Capt. John Sevier, and the first time 
she ever saw him. This was the beginning of an acquaintance des- 
tined in a few years to ripen into a happy union, to endure in 
tl. is life for near forty years. " The way she run and jumped on 
that occasion was often the subject of remark, commendation, and 
laughter." In after life she looked upon this introduction, and the 
manner of it, as a providential indication of their adaptation to each 
other that they w r ere destined to be of mutual help in future dan- 
gers, and to overcome obstacles' in time to como. And she always 
deemed herself safe when by his side. Many a time did she say : 
" I could gladly undergo that peril and effort again to fall into his 
arms, and feel so out of danger. But then," she would add, " it 
was all of God's good providence." Capt. Sevier was then a mar- 
ried man, his wife and younger children not having yet arrived from 
Virginia. His wife's name was Susan Hawkins, and she was a 
native of Virginia, where she died. 

In 1777, Capt. Sevier received a commission from the State of 
North Carolina, and was thus decidedly enlisted in the cause of 
American independence ; and not long after this, he was honored 
with the commission of colonel, bearing the signature of George 
Washington, In 1779, his wife died, leaving him ten children. 



CATHAHINE SEVIEE. 33 

Several of the eldest were sons, who had come with their father to 
gain and improve a home in the wilderness. They were trained to 
arms and to labor. He had selected land on the Watauga and 
Nola Chucka, his chosen residence being on the latter stream, and 
for many years known as Plum Grove. In the year 1*780, he and 
Miss Sherrill were married, and she devoted herself earnestly to all 
the duties of her station, and to meet the exigencies of the times. 
It may well be supposed that females spun, wove, and made up 
most of the clothes worn by these backwoods people. Girls were 
as well skilled in these arts as were the boys in such as more appro- 
priately belonged to their sphere and strength. 

Not long after the marriage, Col. Sevier was called to the duty 
of raising troops to meet the invasion of the interior of North Caro- 
lina, under Tarleton, Ferguson, and other British officers. Prepara- 
tions were hastily made, and the various forces assembled which 
fought the important battle of King's Mountain. Col. Sevier had 
three sons and one brother in that engagement. His favorite 
brother, Joseph, was killed, and one son wounded. These sons were 
between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. Boys were early 
taught to use the rifle with skill. This was the formidable weapon 
in pursuit of game, and in all the Indian wars. 

It was always a source of much gratification to Mrs. Sevier, and 
one of which she fondly boasted, that among the first work she did 
after her marriage, was to make the clothes which her husband and 
three sons wore the day they were in the memorable battle of 
King's Mountain. And she would say, " Had his ten children been 
sons, and large enough to have served in that expedition, I could have 
fitted them out."* 

In the course of years, Mrs. Sevier became the mother of eight 
children, three sons and five daughters ; and thus Col. Sevier was 

* The private orderly, or memorandum-book of Col. De Poister, on whorr 
the command devolved after Ferguson was killed on King's Mountain, and 
who ordered the surrender, was, with other papers, handed to Col. Sevier 
This book was presented to the writer of this memoir by Mrs. Gen. Sevier 
and her son, G. W. S,, after the writer's marriage into the family. 

2* 



34: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the father of eighteen children, all of whom maintained good char 
acters, were " given to hospitality," and lived comfortably and use- 
fully, although none of them acquired great wealth. Mrs. Sevier 
was often left alone to manage domestic affairs, not only within 
doors, but without. The life of the Colonel was one of incessant 
action, adventure, and contest. The calls of his fellow-citizens, and 
the necessities of the times, withdrew him frequently from home. 
The history of the Indian wars of East Tennessee, of the settlement 
of the country, and of the organization of the State Government, is 
the record of the deeds of his life. No commander was more fre- 
quently engaged in conflicts with the Indians with equal success and 
such small loss of his men. A.nd yet it is a notable fact that he 
enjoyed, to a remarkable extent, the respect of the tribes and chiefs 
with whom he contended. It is a known historical fact that in 1781 
he had taken to his own home, on the Chucka, a number of Indian 
prisoners, it is said thirty, where they were treated with so much kind- 
ness by his wife and family that several of them remained for years, 
although they performed very little work, and this wholly at their 
option. The influence of Mrs. Sevier was intentionally and happily 
exerted upon these captives, that it might tell, as it did, upon their 
friends within " the nation ;" and the family, no doubt, enjoyed 
more protection than otherwise they could have expected. 

Col. Sevier acquired a sobriquet among the Indians, which was 
some evidence of their familiarity with and attachment to him, and 
probably of advantage. As long as he lived they called him 
" Chucka Jack." He was afterwards called the " Treaty-maker." 
They had a name for Mrs. Sevier also, which is now not remembered. 
The tones were the worst enemies, and perpetrated more damage to 
Col. Sevier's property than did ever the Indians ; and from them 
Mrs. Sevier had repeatedly to hide most of her small stock of house- 
hold articles. She usually remained at the farm, and never would 
consent to be shut up in a blockhouse, always saying 

" The wife of John Sevier 
Knows no fear." 



CATHARINE SEVIER. 35 

" I neither skulk from duty nor from clanger." 

And we believe this was emphatically true. We have seen her 
in advanced age tall in stature, erect in person, stately in walk ? 
with small, piercing blue eyes, raven locks, a Roman nose, and firm- 
ness unmistakable in her mouth and every feature. She was able to 
teach her children in the exercises conducive to health and useful- 
ness, to strength of nerve and to action. None could, with equal 
grace and facility, placing the hand upon the mane of a spirited 
horse, and standing by his side, seat herself upon his back or in the 
saddle. She had the appearance and used the language of indepen- 
dence, haughtiness, and authority, and she never entirely laid these 
aside. Yet was not her pride offensive, nor her words or demeanor 
intended heedlessly to wound. It could be said of her without any 
question, that she " reverenced her husband," and she instilled the 
same Scriptural sentiment into the minds of his children. The very 
high respect and deference which one of her dignified appearance 
ever paid to him, no doubt had a favorable influence upon others ; 
for though he was a man of remarkable elegance of person, air and 
address, and of popular attraction, yet it must be confessed that she 
contributed much to all these traits, and to his usefulness and zeal in 
public service. She relieved him of his cares at home, and applauded 
his devotion to the service of the people. 

Her reply to those who urged her " to fort," or to take protection 
in one of the stations, was, " I would as soon die by the tomahawk 
and scalping-knife as by famine ! I put .my trust in that Power 
who rules the armies of Heaven, and among men on the earth. I 
know my husband has an eye and an arm for the Indians and the 
tories who would harm us, and though he is gone often, and for 
weeks at a time, he comes home when I least expect him, and always 
covered with laurels. * * If God protects him whom duty calls 
into danger, so will He those who trust in him and stand at then* 
post. * * Who would stay out if his family forted ?" 

This was the spirit of the heroine this was the spirit of Catharine 
Sevier. Neither she nor her husband seemed to think there could 
be danger or loss when they could encourage or aid others to 



36 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



daring, to doty, and to usefulness. Col. Sevier at one time advised 
her to go into the fort, but yielded to her respectful remonstrance. 
At one time the tories came to her house and demanded her hus- 
band's thereabouts, and finally avowed that their intention was to 
hang him on the highest tree in front of his house ; but that if she 
would, tell them where he was, she and her children should be safe. 
Of course she refused to give them the information. One man drew a 
pistol and threatened to blow out her brains if she did not tell or at 
least give up all the money she had. 

"Shoot! shoot!" was her answer. "I am not afraid to die! 
But remember, while there is a Sevier on the earth, my blood will 
not be unavenged !" 

He dared not he did not shoot. The leader of the gang told 
the man to put up his pistols, saying, " such a woman is too brave 
to die." She knew some of the party, and that they were noted 
thieves and tories. 

At another time they came to her smokehouse to carry off 
meat. She took down the gun, which her husband always left with 
her in good order, and said to them : " The first one who takes 
down a piece of meat is a dead man !" They could not mistake her 
resolution. Her tone, manner, and appearance avowed clearly 
enough that she uttered no vain warning ; that she knew her rights 
and dared maintain them. They left without taking anything. In 
the fall of 1780, a noted loyalist by the name of Dykes planned the 
seizure of Sevier, but the plot was discovered to Mrs. Sevier by his 
wife, as she stood by the smokehouse with her apron held 
out to receive meal and a slice of meat from the Colonel's 
lady.* 

Some of their negroes were stolen and never all recovered, being 
taken into the Indian nation by the tories, and thence to Savannah 
or Charleston while in possession of the British. There was a mortal 
enmity between some of the active tories and the Seviers, 
resulting in the hanging of some of the former on two occasions. 

* See Wheeler's North Carolina. 



CATHARINE SEYIER. 37 

It fell to the lot of Mrs. Sevier to do acts of hospitality and 
kindness to some of this set and their descendants many years 
after the war. And these kindnesses she performed, although she 
acknowledged that she felt at the same time the spirit of re- 
venge rankling in her bosom. " Some of them," she would say, 
"and perhaps all their children, may make worthy people and good 
citizens if they are not kept continually ashamed and mortified by 
3eing reminded of their bad conduct or of their tory origin." 

The sick and wounded soldier ever found a welcome and nursing 
at the home of Sevier. The supplies for many of the Colonel's 
Indian expeditions were from his own private means. His wife, sons, 
and servants were remarkably successful in raising corn and hogs, 
and cheerfully were these given to the furtherance of the great ob- 
jects in hand.* 

All her life lon was Mrs. Sevier distinguished for her kindness 

o o i 

and liberality to the poor. Towards children she was gentle, though 
she had an appearance and manner whicji prevented them from 
giving that annoyance they are apt to do to the aged. It was usual 
with her to keep a supply of maple-sugar and cinnamon-bark in her 
spice-box, from which she would gratify them, and then wave them 
kindly away. This motion of her hand was expressive, and easily 
understood. 

In 1*784 occurred the scenes of the "State of Frankland." 
The people of East Tennessee, becoming dissatisfied with the con- 
dition of affairs under North Carolina, and impelled, as they urged, 
by the necessity of self-protection, organized a separate and indepen- 
dent government, giving that name to the new State. John Sevier 
was its first and last Governor. The establishment of this little re- 

* When the paper currency of North Carolina was so depreciated that a 
$100 bill would rarely buy "a pone of corn-bread and slice of ham,' 7 and 
many persons would not take it at all in exchange for provisions or other 
property, the soldier could always purchase an ample supply at a fair estimate 
at Plum Grove, and thus by sales of lands, personal property, and perhaps 
in satisfaction for his military and public services, did the fcl old Continental 
currency" accumulate in the desk of Gen. Sevier to sums of between $200.000 
and $300,000, which, with his papers, were left in the hands of his son, the 
late Col. G. W. JS., of Tennessee. 



38 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

public was declared by the Governor of North Carolina to be no less 
than revolt, and all concerned in it were commanded to return to 
their duty and allegiance, and to refuse obedience to any self-created 
authority, unsanctioned by the legislature of North Carolina. Not- 
withstanding this remonstrance, the new government proceeded in 
the exercise of sovereignty. Tn the conflict of authorities and the 
civil and personal contests which grew out of this state of things in 
the revolted territory, the prudent and judicious conduct of Mrs. 
Sevier added to her husband's reputation as well as her own. 
His house became the place of general resort. It was proclaimed 
open and free to all the friends of the lights of self-defence and in- 
dependence, and the impressive dignity and noble bearing of Mrs. 
Sevier made a deep and lasting impression upon all who resorted to 
that home for counsel, aid, or hospitality. 

The supporters of the new State were obliged in time, however, 
to enter into measures of adjustment. When the Governor Was 
seized by its enemies and spirited away into the interior of North 
Carolina, Mrs. Sevier, with the promptness, energy, and daring 
which qualify for any occasion of utmost moment, aroused his 
friends, and would have gone, as a fearless leader, " to conquer or to 
die." But seeing that her relatives, his relatives, sons and friends 
were ^esolved upon his release and restoration, she little doubted 
his speedy return, and she was not disappointed. 

And when a returning sense of justice, and the revulsion of pub- 
lic sentiment and power of popular gratitude, produced a repeal of 
" the odious acts of exclusion" of North Carolina, placing him " in 
lone conspicuity," and the people called him, by unanimous voice, 
again and again, and yet again, to preside as Governor of Tennessee, 
and to a Seat in Congress of the United States, then did her great 
heart swell with thankfulness to God and her fellow-citizens. Then 
did she acknowledge that her husband had not endured peril, toil, 
and sacrifice in vain, though far short of the reward to which she 
thought him justly entitled. And we doubt not posterity will coin- 
cide in this judgment. 

Durinsf the twelve years in which he officiated as Governor of 



CATHARINE SEVIEB. 39 

Tennessee, his wife made his home delightful to him and his chil- 
dren. It was the rest of the weary, the asylum of the afflicted, well 
known as " the hospitable mansion of the first Governor, the people's 
favorite." 

The education of Mrs. Sevier, in respect of literature and the 
embellishments of dress and music, was such as she acquired chiefly 
from reading the Bible, hearing the wild birds sing, and the Indians' 
pow-wow. " I picked up a good deal," she was accustomed to say, 
" from observation of men and their acts for that was a business 
with us in the early settlements and we examined the works of 
nature to some advantage ; but as to school education, we had pre- 
cious little of that except at our mothers' knees." 

She embraced the religious sentiments of the Presbyterians, and 
her life throughout was exemplary and useful. In this faith sho 
lived and died. A favorite expression of hers was : " I always trust 
in Providence." And she taught her children that " trust in God, 
with a pure heart, is to be rich enough ; if you are lazy, your blood 
will stagnate in your veins, and your trust die." She would never 
be idle. Knitting often engaged her fingers, while her mind and 
tongue were occupied in thought and conversation. She always 
wore at her side a bunch of very bright keys. 

After the death of Gov. Sevier on the Tallapoosa, in 1815, where 
he had gone to cement peace and establish the boundary with the 
Creek Indians, Mrs. Sevier removed to Overtoil County, in Middle 
Tennessee, where most of her children resided. She selected a most 
romantic and secluded spot for her own retired residence. It was 
upon a high bench, or spur of one of the mountains of that county, 
a few miles from Obeds River, with higher mountains on either side. 
There were some ten or fifteen acres of tillable land, and a bold 
never-failing spring issuing from near the surface of the level tract, 
which cast its pure cold waters down the side of the mountain 
hundreds of feet into the narrow valley. . In a dense wood near that 
spring, and miles distant from any other habitation, did her sons erect 
her log cabins for bedroom, dining-room, and kitchen, and others 
for stable and crib. She resided for years at " The Pale," with the 



40 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

General's aged body-servant, Toby (who had accompanied him in all 
his Indian campaigns), his wife, Rachel, and a favorite female servant 
and boy. Seldom did she 'come down from her eyrie in the 
mountain. The aged eagle had lost her mate. She made her nest 
among the lofty oaks upon the mountain heights, where she breathed 
the air and drank the water untainted and undisturbed, fresh and 
pure, and nearest to the heavens. 

We have visited her in that chosen spot. "The Governor's 
widow" could never be looked upon as an ordinary countrywoman. 
"Whoever saw her could not be satisfied with a single glance he 
must look again. And if she stood erect, and her penetrating, eye 
caughf the beholder's, he judged at once there was in that mind a 
consciousness of worth and an acquaintance with notable events. 
He would wish to converse with her. She used language of much 
expressiveness $nd point. She never forgot that she was the widow 
of Gov. and Gen. Sevier ; that he had given forty years of his life to 
the service of his country, and in the most arduous and perilous 
exposure, contributing from his own means for more than he ever 
received from the public treasury ; and yet he never reproached that 
country for injustice, neither would she murmur nor repine. 

At times she was disposed to sociable cheerfulness and humor, as 
one in youthful days, and then would she relate interesting anecdotes 
and incidents of the early settlement of the country, the manners and 
habits of the people, of the " barefoot and moccasin dance" and " spice- 
wood tea-parties." Her woman's pride, or some other feminine feel- 
ing, induced her to preserve with the utmost care an imported or 
bought carpet, of about twelve by fifteen feet in size, which had 
been presented to her as the "first Governor's wife," and as the first 
article of the kind ever laid upon a " puncheon," or split-log floor 
west of the Alleghany Mountains. Whenever she expected company 
upon her own invitation, or persons of character to pay their respects 
to her, the Scotch carpet was sure to be spread out, about the size 
of a modern bedquilt. But as soon as company departed, the ever- 
present and faithful servants, Suzy and Jeff, incontinently commenced 
dusting and folding, and it was soon again boxed up. Three times 



CATHAEINE SEVIER. 41 

were we permitted the honorable privilege of placing our well cleaned 
boots upon this dear relic from the household of the first Governor 
of Tennessee, and of admiring the pair of ancient and decrepit 
branch-candlesticks as they stood on the board over the fireplace. 

The bucket of cool water was ever on the shelf at the batten-door, 
which stood wide open, swung back upon its wooden hinges ; and 
there hung the sweet water-gourd ; and from very love of everything 
around, we repeatedly helped ourselves. The floors, the doors, the 
chairs, the dishes on the shelves yea, everything seemed to have 
been scoured. There was a lovely cleanness and order, and we be- 
lieve, " godliness with contentment." 

She was remarkably neat in her person, tidy, and particular, and 
uniform in her dress, which might be called half-mourning a white 
cap with black trimmings. She had a hearth-rug, the accompani- 
ment of the favorite carpet, which was usually laid before the fire- 
place in her own room, and there she commonly was seated, erect 
as a statue no stooping of the figure, so often acquired by indolence 
and careless habit, or from infirm old age but with her feet placed 
upon her rug, her work-stand near her side, the Bible ever thereon 
or in her lap, the Governor's hat upon the wall such were the 
striking features of that mountain hermitage. 

There was resignation and good cheer there was hospitality and 
worth in that plain cottage ; and had not the prospect of better for- 
tune, and attachment to children married and settled at a distance, 
induced her own sons to remove from her vicinity, she ought never 
to have been urged to come down from that " lodge in the wilder- 
ness." But her last son having resolved to remove to Alabama, she 
consented to go with him and pass her few remaining days in his 
family. 

She departed this life on the 2d October, 1836, at Russelville, in 
the State of Alabama, aged about eighty-two. 



III. 



REBECCA BOONE. 

IN the rural cemetery near Frankfort, upon a hill overlooking the 
river, under the shadow of protecting trees, are two green mounds, 
unmarked by slab or stone informing the stranger that the remains 
of two honored pioneers Daniel Boone and his wife, rest beneath. 
The beauty of the locality is unrivalled, and it is not far from the 
magnificent monument erected by Kentucky to her brave officers 
fallen on the field of battle ; the splendid shaft inscribed with their 
names, and surmounted by a figure of Victory holding crowns in 
her hands. It is hoped that ere long the State will do justice to 
the memory of those whose arduous efforts won a victory not less 
glorious over the untamed wilderness, and opened the way to others 
as bold and persevering. 

It will be remembered that the father of Daniel Boone had his 
residence on the borders of the Yadkin in North Carolina, at no 
great distance from the eastern slope of the Alleghanies ; then a 
frontier country, and the greater part of it unbroken forest. Near 
the farm here opened, was another owned by Mr. Bryan, comprising 
about a hundred acres beautifully situated on a gentle swell of 
ground ; the eminence crested with laurels and yellow poplars, which 
half concealed the farmer's dwelling. A wild mountain stream ran 
along the base of the hill. This Joseph Bryan was the oldest son 



REBECCA BOONE, 43 

of Morgan Bryan, of Virginia, the head of a very respectable fam- 
ily. His daughter, Rebecca, was born near Winchester, in Vir- 
ginia. 

Flint's " Life of Boone," contains the following account of his first 
meeting with his future wife, referred to as authentic by other bio- 
graphers : 

" Young Boone was one night engaged in a fire hunt with a young 
friend. Their coursa led them to the deeply timbered bottom which 
skirted the stream that wound round Bryan's pleasant plantation. 
That the reader may have an idea what sort of a pursuit it was that 
young Boone was engaged in, during an event so decisive of his 
future fortunes, we present a brief sketch of a night fire hunt. Two 
persons are indispensable to it. The horseman that precedes, bears 
on his shoulder what is called a fire pan, full of blazing pine knots, 
which casts a bright and flickering glare far through the forest. 
The second follows at some distance with his rifle prepared for 
action. No spectacle is more impressive than this of pairs of hunt- 
ers thus kindling the forest into a glare. The deer, reposing 
quietly in his thicket, is awakened by the approaching cavalcade, 
and instead of flying from the portentous brilliance, remains stu- 
pidly gazing upon it, as if charmed to the spot. The animal is 
betrayed to its doom by the gleaming of its fixed and innocent 
eyes. This cruel mode of securing a fatal shot is called in hunters' 
phrase shining the eyes. 

" The two young men reached a corner of the former's field at an 
early hour in the evening. Young Boone gave the customary sig- 
nal to his mounted companion preceding him, to stop ; an indica- 
tion that he had shined the eyes of a deer. Boone dismounted and 
fastened his horse to a tree. Ascertaining that his rifle was in order 
he advanced cautiously behind a covert of bushes, to rest the right 
distance for a shot. The deer is remarkable for the beauty of its 
eyes when thus shined. The mild brilliance of the two orbs was 
distinctly visible. Whether warned by a presentiment, or arrested 
by a palpitation and strange feelings within, at noting a new ex- 
pression in the blue and dewy lights that gleamed to his heart, we 



44 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

say not. But the unerring rifle fell, and a rustling told him the 
game had fled. Something whispered him it was not a deer ; and 
yet the fleet step, as the game bounded away, might easily be mis- 
taken for that of the light-footed animal. A second thought im- 
pelled him to pursue the rapidly retreating game ; and he sprang 
away in the direction of the sound, leaving his companion to occupy 
himself as he might. The fugitive had the advantage of a consider- 
able advance of him, and apparently a better knowledge of the 
localities of the place. But the hunter was perfect in all his field 
exercises, and scarcely less fleet-footed than a deer, and he gained 
rapidly on the object of his pursuit, which advanced a little distance 
parallel with the field fence, and then, as if endowed with the 
utmost accomplishment of gymnastics, cleared the fence at a leap. 
The hunter, embarrassed with his rifle and accoutrements, was driven 
to the slow and humiliating expedient of climbing it. But an out- 
line of the form of the fugitive, fleeting through the shades in the 
direction of the house, assured him that he had mistaken the species 
of the game. His heart throbbed from an hundred sensations, and 
among them an apprehension of the consequences of what would 
have resulted from discharging his rifle, when he had first shined 
those liquid blue eyes. Seeing that the fleet game made straight 
in the direction of the house, he said to himself: 'I will see the 
pet deer in its lair,' and he directed his steps to the same place. 
Half a score of dogs opened their barking upon him as he ap- 
proached the house, and advertised the master that a stranger 
was approaching. Having hushed ( the dogs, and learned the name 
of his visitant, he introduced him to his family as the son of their 
neighbor Boone. 

" Scarce had the first words of introduction been uttered, before the 
opposite door opened, and a boy apparently of seven, and a girl of 
sixteen, rushed in, panting for breath, and seeming in affright. 

" ' Sister went down to the river and a painter chased her, and she 
is almost scared to death,' exclaimed the boy. 

" The ruddy, flaxen-haired girl stood full in view of her terrible 
pursuer, leaning upon his rifle, and surveying her with the most 



KEBECCA BOONE. 45 

eager admiration. ~* Rebecca, this is young Boone, son of our 
neighbor,' was the laconic introduction. Both were young, beauti- 
ful, and at the period when the affections exercise their most ener- 
getic influence. The circumstances of the introduction were favora- 
ble to the result, and the young hunter felt that the eyes had slimed 
his bosom as fatally as his rifle shot had ever the innocent deer of 
the thickets. She too, when she saw the light, open, bold fore- 
head, the clear, keen, yet gentle and affectionate eye, the firm front, 
and the visible impress of decision and fearlessness of the hunter 
when she interpreted a look which said as distinctly as looks could 
say it, l how terrible it would have been to have fired !' can hardly 
be supposed to have regarded him with indifference. Nor can it be 
wondered at that she saw in him her beau ideal of excellence and 
beauty. The inhabitants of cities, who live in mansions, and read 
novels stored with unreal pictures of life and the heart, are apt to 
imagine that love, with all its golden illusions, is reserved exclusively 
for them. It is a most egregious mistake. A model of ideal beauty 
and perfection is woven in almost every youthful heart, of the 
brightest and most brilliant threads that compose the web of exist- 
ence. It may not be said that this forest maiden was deeply and 
foolishly smitten at first sight. All reasonable time and space were 
granted to the claims of maidenly modesty. As for Boone, he was 
remarkable for the backwoods attribute of never being beaten out 
of his track, and he ceased not to woo, until he gained the heart of Re- 
becca Bryan. In a word, he courted her successfully, and they were 
married." 

Boone's first step after his marriage was to find a suitable place 
where he might cultivate his farm, and hunt to the greatest advan- 
tage. His wife remained at home, while he went to explore the 
unsettled regions of North Carolina. When he had selected a 
locality near the head waters of the Yadkin, Rebecca, with the same 
resolute spirit of enterprise which afterwards led her to the wilds of 
Kentucky, bade farewell to her friends, and followed her adventurous 
husband. In a few months her home had assumed a pleasant 
aspect ; a neat cabin stood on a pleasant eminence near the river, 



46 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

surrounded by an enclosed field ; the farm was well stocked', and 
with the abundance of game in the woods, the settlers had no lack 
of means for comfort and enjoyment. The rude dwelling frequently 
offered the traveller shelter ; and by a cheerful fire and table loaded 
with the finest game, with the enhancing blessing of a hospitable 
welcome, was many a tale of adventure narrated, while as yet the 
surrounding forest was untouched by an axe. For some years the 
young couple lived in this sylvan retirement, till the fields of other 
emigrants opened wide clearings, and dwellings rose so thickly in the 
neighborhood as to form villages ; when Boone made up his mind 
to remove to some wilder spot. 

The country west of the Cumberland Mountains was almost 
unknown in 1760. Some few hardy adventurers had struck into 
the pathless forests which extended along the frontier settlements, 
but the Alleghanies had proved an insurmountable barrier to the 
families of settlers. The stories told by adventurers, meanwhile, 
who had ventured into the skirts of the wilderness, kindled the 
imagination of enterprising hunters. In 1767, Finley went still 
further, and penetrated through a portion of Tennessee. " There is 
nothing," says the biographer of Boone, " grand or imposing in 
scenery, nothing striking or picturesque in the ascent and precipi- 
tous declivity of mountains covered with woods ; nothing romantic 
or delightful in deep and sheltered valleys through which wind 
clear streams that was not found in this region. Mountains 
stretch along in continuous ridges, and now and then shoot up into 
elevated peaks. On the summit of some spread plateaus, which 
afford the most romantic prospects, and offer every advantage for 
cultivation, with the purest and most bracing atmosphere. No 
words can picture the secluded beauty of some of the vales bordering 
the small streams, which fling their spray, transparent as air, over 
moss-covered and time-worn rocks, walled in by precipitous moun- 
tains, down which pour numerous waterfalls." 

The rich soil and inviting aspect of this country gave large ideas 
of its advantages ; and as the wanderer penetrated into Kentucky, 
the luxuriant beauty of its plains, its rich cane-brakes and flower- 



REBECCA BOONE. 4/T 

covered forests promised everything desirable in a new home. The 
forest abounded with deer, elk, and buffaloes, and more savage wild 
beasts had their lair in its depths and in the thick tangles of the 
green cane ; while pheasants, partridges, wild turkeys, &c., were as 
plenty as domestic fowls upon a farm. The report of Finley deter- 
mined Boone to go westward, and others having been induced to 
join him in an exploring expedition, six assembled at his house on 
the first of May, 1769 all the neighbors being gathered to witness 
their departure. Mrs. Boone parted with her husband, who left his 
house laden with his rifle, hunter's bag of ammunition, and light knap- 
sack the only luggage taken by the adventurers. Their expedition 
across the Alleghanies into the boundless forests of the Ohio valley, 
where the buffalo roamed like herds of cattle, has been elsewhere 
described. The land appeared the very paradise of hunters, and 
Boone could not imagine how any one who could fix his home in 
such a region, would stay among the barren pine-hills of North 
Carolina. The exploring party divided, to take different routes, and 
Boone and Stewart were taken prisoners by wandering Indians. 

They managed, however, to escape, and Boone joined his elder 
brother, while Stewart and another of their number were killed. 
The brothers were soon in want of ammunition, and the elder 
Boone returned to North Carolina, while Daniel, regardless of 
danger, remained alone in the rough cabin he had built, from the 
first of May to the 27th of July, 1770, at which time his brother 
came back with cheering news from his family. Having finished 
their survey, both returned to report to their neighbors what they 
had seen, and form a company of such persons as were willing to 
join the families of the Boones in their pioneer settlement. Their 
descriptions of the luxuriance of the country its cane-brakes, clover 
plains, limestone springs, maple orchards, streams and forests filled 
with game and wild-fowl, were matched by fearful accounts from 
others of the depredations and cruelties of Indians, dangers of wild 
beasts, and diseases peculiar to a wild country ;' so that it was two 
years before preparations were completed for the expedition. The 
party commenced the march the 26th September, 1773, and were 



48 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

joined by forty persons in " Powell's valley," a settlement some 
distance westward ; numbering about eighty in all. They crossed 
the wild and rugged range of mountains by the course the brothers 
had traced on their return, but they were not destined to proceed 
much further. As they descended the west side of Walden's ridge, 
along a narrow defile, they were suddenly startled by the yells of 
Indians, and a fierce affray ensued, in which six men were killed, 
and some of the stock scattered and lost. In the general distress, 
the company decided unanimously on giving up the attempt to form 
a settlement in Kentucky, and returning to Clinch River, forty 
miles in the rear, where a number of families had already located 
themselves. It may be supposed that Mrs. Boone, whose eldest son 
had been slain in the encounter, had lost all spirit for the enterprise, 
and her husband was obliged to submit to the decision of the rest. 
Their new home, accordingly, was for some time on the banks of 
Clinch River. In June, 1774, Boone was required by Governor 
Dunmore of Virginia, to conduct a party of surveyors to the falls of 
Ohio. In 1775, he superintended the erection of a fort on the 
Kentucky River, afterwards called Boonesborough. The fort con- 
sisted of one block-house and several cabins, surrounded by palisades. 
This work was accomplished amidst troubles from the Indians, and 
when it was finished Boone returned for his family. They took up 
their abode at the earliest military station except the house built by 
Harrod in 1774 in Kentucky Mrs. Boone and her daughters being 
the first white women who had ever stood on the banks of Ken- 
tucky river. 

It was the close of summer, and at this time the spot selected for 
their residence appeared in its best aspect. The early autumn was 
mild and beautiful, and arrangements were made for the cultivation 
of the land as^ soon as spring should open. Winter came, and 
passed with little discomfort. Their cabins were thoroughly daubed 
with clay ; they had abundance of fuel, and were at no loss for 
game and provisions. Those who went out to fell trees, however, 
were constrained to be on their guard against attacks from Indians, 
who might aim at them from some covert in the woods, and the 



REBECCA BOONE. 49 

men never left home without carrying their rifles and knives. The 
women occasionally ventured a short distance without the palisades 
in the day-time, but never out of sight of the fort. 

The months thus passed without monotony or want of excite- 
ment ; spring opened, the trees to be felled were girdled, the brush 
cut down and burned, preparations made for ploughing the field, 
and a garden spot marked off, which, when the virgin earth had 
been thrown up, was given in charge to Mrs. Boone and her 
daughters. They had brought out a stock of seeds from the old 
settlements, and went . out every bright day to plant them. The 
little party of women was reinforced, among others, by the daugh- 
ters of Col. Galloway, a friend of Boone, who had brought his 
family to the station. Their fondness for possessing themselves of 
the spoils of the forest, led to a romantic instance of the peril of the 
times. 

A little daughter of Boone, with Galloway's two, was captured 
by Indians the 7th of July. Flint says they were gathering flowers 
in the woods when the savages rushed upon them ; and that they 
were not missed till some time after they had been carried off. I 
copy the account given of the pursuit of Boone, and the recovery of 
the captives, by Col. Floyd, an actor in the scene in preference 
to other narratives. He savs the ffirls were taken out of a canoe in 

J o 

the river, within sight of Boonesborough. " The affair happened 
late in the afternoon, and the spoilers left the canoe on the opposite 
side of the river from us, which prevented our getting over for some 
time to pursue them. Next morning by daylight we were on the 
track, but found they had totally prevented our following them by 
walking some distance apart, through the thickest cane they could 
find. We observed their course, and on which side we had left 
their sign, and travelled upwards of thirty miles. We then imagined 
that they would be less cautious in travelling, made a turn in order 
to cross their trace, and had not gone but a few miles before we 
found their tracks in a buffalo path ; pursued and overtook them on 
going about ten miles, just as they were kindling a fire to cook. 
Our study had been *more to get the prisoners without giving the 
3 



50 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Indians time to murder them after they discovered us, than to kill 
the savages. We discovered each other nearly at the same time. 
Four of us fired, and all rushed on them, which prevented their car- 
rying anything away, except one shot gun without ammunition. 
Mr. Boone and myself had a pretty fair shot just as they began to 
move off. I am well convinced I shot one through, and the one he 
shot dropped his gun ; mine had none. The place was* very thick 
with cane, and being so much elated on recovering the three little 
broken-hearted girls, prevented our making any further search. We 
sent them off without their moccasins, and not one of them so much 
as a knife or a tomahawk."* 

With the commencement of the war of the Revolution, the 
ravages of Indian warfare along the whole line of border settle- 
ments became more extensive and violent ; British influence and 
resources securing the savages as their allies along the frontier, from 
the north-eastern part of Vermont and New York to the Mississippi. 
The story of Boone's life is interwoven with the scenes of plunder, 
captivity, burning and massacre, which swept and in many instances 
desolated the infant colonies of the north and west. Yet new emi- 
grants came, many of them of respectable standing, and some noted 
in the history of the time. Mrs. McGary, Mrs. Hogan, and Mrs. 
Denton, had taken up their residence in the fort at Boonseborough. 
At the same time hordes of savages crossed the Ohio with the design 
of extirpating these germs of social establishments in the Indian's 
favorite hunting-ground, and in numerous detachments spread in 
every direction through the forest. 

But the increase of danger did not drive back the pioneers, or 
prevent still further reinforcements. Those who first ventured into 
Kentucky and Tennessee, had come in small parties, but on their 
return to the old settlements they gathered companies of their friends 
and connections, old and young, with their wives and children, 
flocks and herds, resolved on emigration, and pledged by mutual 

* See Butler's History of Kentucky. Some of the biographies of Boone 
state that he went alone on the expedition. Flint "gives a beautiful romance 
which unfortuuately has been contradicted on. reliable authority. 



KEBECCA BOONE. 51 

necessity to stand by each other in life and death. There was 
among them none of the jealousy and want of unity which prevail, 
more or less, among their descendants ; yet were not these primi- 
tive hunters assimilated to savages in their habits, but possessing 
keen and strong intellects as well as powerful frames, and every 
qualification for social life. The first care on reaching their destina- 
tion was to select a spot for the new dwelling, usually chosen on 
a gently elevated ground of exuberant fertility, Vhere trees were 
sparse, and there was no underbrush to prevent the hunter's riding 
at full speed. The growth of cane, wild clover, and pawpaw 
marked the best soil. Cabins being put up for immediate use, the 
little settlement was converted into a station. For this purpose it 
was necessary to enclose a spring or well, near a salt lick or sugar 
orchard if practicable ; then a wide space must be cleared, so that 
the enemy could not approach close under the shelter of the woods. 
The station was to overlook, moreover, as much of the country as 
possible. It included from half an acre to an acre of ground, and 
the trench was usually dug four or five feet deep and planted with 
large and close pickets, forming a compact wall ten or twelve feet 
above the surface of the earth. The pickets were of hard timber 
and about a foot in diameter, and the soil around them was rammed 
into great solidity. At the angles were small projecting squares 
called flunkers, with oblique port-holes, from which the fire of sen- 
tinels within could rake the external front of the station ; and in 
front and rear two folding gates swung on enormous wooden hinges. 
The gates were barred every night, and sentinels posted alternately, 
one being 1 stationed on the roof in time of peculiar danger. These 
fortified places in the wilderness had their clean turfed area for 
dancing, wrestling, or other athletic exercises ; the inmates of the 
fort passed their evenings sociably together, cheerful fires blazing 
within the enclosure, and suppers of venison and wild turkeys, 
wild fruits and maple beer were enjoyed with double relish amid 
the distant howling of wolves, or the Indian warwhoop, heard like 
the roar of the dying storm. Such was Bryants station in 1782, 
the nucleus of the earliest settlements in the rich and lovely country 



52 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of which Lexington is the centre and such were others built at 
that period. 

The captivity of Boone, his escape and return to Boonesborough, 
and the Indian siege of that station in 1778 the last it sustained 
belong to the biography of the renowned woodsman, not to this 
memoir. When during a long interval no information concerning 
Boone could be obtained, he was supposed by the people at the 
garrison and his family to have fallen a victim to savage vengeance. 
Mrs. Boone, believing herself widowed, at length resolved, with her 
children, to leave the western forests," and return to the banks of the 
Yadkin. Kentucky, she said, had indeed been to her a " dark and 
bloody ground." The family returned to their friends in North 
Carolina, nearly five years having elapsed since they had started 
with the first party of emigrants for Kentucky. The friends from 
whom she then parted had heard afterwards of their disastrous 
encounter with the Indians, their return to Clinch River, and subse- 
quent residence at Boonesborough ; but knew nothing of their further 
trials. When about the close of the summer of 1778, these pil- 
grims returning from the western wilds were seen approaching on 
pack-horses, the sight caused no little surprise and wonder among 
the dwellers on the banks of the Yadkin. The mother wore deep 
mourning, and her dejected countenance showed the grief that had 
worn her strong spirit ; the same melancholy was evident in the 
faces of her eldest surviving son, and the daughter who had been 
captured ; the other children being too young to feel trial or change. 
The travellers were clad in skins, and the primitive habiliments of 
the wilderness, and as the cavalcade stopped at Mr. Bryan's house, 
the neighbors collected to learn what had happened, and listen with 
deep interest to Mrs. Boone's relation of her adventures and 
sorrows. 

After having driven the enemy from Boonesborough, Col. 
Boone set out to cross the Alleghanies in pursuit of his wife and 
children ; surmounting with iron strength of endurance the difficul- 
ties of the way. It may be imagined how joyfully his return was 
hailed by those who had so long believed him dead. They returned 



REBECCA BOONE. 53 

in the following* summer to Boonesborough, which, enjoyed tran- 
quillity as the country became more thickly settled. Many incidents 
of interest after this re-union, in which Boone was prominent, are re- 
corded in the history of Kentucky, but do not pertain to this sketch. 
One connected with another pioneer, may be mentioned as illustrative. 
Benjamin Logan, who had brought his family from the Hol- 
ston to Logan's Fort, in March, 1776, was obliged afterwards to 
remove them for safety to Harrodsburgh. Before the attack on 
Harrodsburgh in the winter of 1777, he returned with six families 
to the cabins he had built, and commenced palisading the station. 
" On the 20th of May, while the females of the establishment were 
milking their cows, sustained by a guard of their husbands and 
fathers, the whole party was suddenly assailed by a large body of 
Indians, concealed in a canebrake. One man was killed and two 
wounded, one mortally, the other severely. The remainder reached 
the interior of the palisades in safety. The number in all was thirty, 
half of whom were women and children. A circumstance was now 
discovered exceedingly trying to such a benevolent spirit as that of 
Logan. While the Indians were still firing, and the inmates exulting 
in their safety while others mourned over their dead and wounded, 
it was perceived that one of the wounded, by the name of Harrison, 
was still alive, and exposed every moment to be scalped. All this 
his wife and family could discover from within. It is not difficult to 
imagine their agonized condition and piercing lamentations. Logan 
displayed on this occasion the same tender compassion and insensi- 
bility to danger, that characterised his friend Boone in similar 
circumstances. He endeavored to rally a few of the male inmates 
of the place to join him, rush out, and bring the wounded man within 
the palisades. But so obvious was the danger, so forlorn appeared 
the enterprise, that no one could be found disposed to volunteer his 
aid, except a single individual by the name of John Martin. When 
he had reached the gate, the wounded man raised himself partly 
erect and made a movement as if trying to reach the fort himself. 
On this Martin desisted from the enterprise and left Logan to at- 
tempt it alone. He rushed forward to the wounded man, who made 



5-1: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

some effort to crawl onward by his aid ;. but weakened by the loss of 
blood, and the anguish of his wounds, he fainted, and Logan taking 
him in his arms, bore him towards the fort. A shower of bullets was 
discharged at them, many of which struck the palisades close to 
Logan's head, as he brought the wounded man" safe within the gate, 
and deposited him in the care of his family. 

u The station, at this juncture, was destitute both of powder and 
ball, and there was no chance of supplies nearer than Holston ; all 
intercourse between station and station was cut off. Without am- 
munition the fort could not be defended against the Indians, and the 
question was how to obtain a supply in this pressing emergency. 
Capt. Logan, selecting two trusty companions, left the fort by night, 
evading the besieging Indians, reached the woods, made his way 
in safety to Holston, procured the necessary supplies of ammunition, 
and packed it under their care on horseback, giving them directions 
how to proceed. He then left them, and traversing the forest by a 
shorter route on foot, reached the fort in safety ten days after his 
departure. The Indians still kept up the siege with unabated per- 
severance, and the hopes of the diminished garrison had given way 
to despondency. The return of Logan inspired them however with 
renewed confidence." 

We select another narrative in detail, to convey an idea of Indian 
hostility on the one hand, and the manner in which it was met on the 
other. " A family lived on Cooper's run, in Bourbon county, con- 
sisting of a mother, two sons of mature age, a widowed daughter 
with an infant in her arms, two grown daughters, and a daughter 
ten years old. The house was a double cabin. The two grown 
daughters and the smaller girl were in one division, and the rest of 
the family in the other. At night a knocking was heard at the 
door of the latter division, asking in good English and the customary 
Western phrase : * Who keeps house ?' As the sons went to open 
the door, the mother forbade them, affirming that the persons claim- 
ing admission were Indians. The young men sprang to their guns ; 
and the Indians finding themselves refused admittance at the door, 
made an effort at the opposite one. That door they soon beat open 



UKBECCA BOONE. . 55 

with a rail, and endeavored to take the three girls prisoners. The 
little girl sprang away, and might have escaped in the darkness and 
the woods, but the foolish child under a natural impulse ran to the 
other door and cried for help. The brothers within it may be sup- 
posed would wish to go forth and protect the feeble and terrified 
waller. The mother taking a broader view of duty, forbade them. 
The savages soon hushed the cries of the distressed child by the 
merciless tomahawk. While some of the Indians were engaged in 
murdering this child, another was binding one of the grown girls 
whom he had captured, the other young woman defending herself 
with a knife which she had been using at a loom at the moment of 
attack. The intrepidity she displayed was unavailing. She killed 
one Indian and was herself dispatched by another. The savages 
meanwhile having obtained possession of one half the house, fired it. 
The persons shut up in the other half had now no other alternative 
than to be consumed in the flames rapidly spreading towards them, 
or to go forth and expose themselves to the murderous tomahawks 
that had already laid three of the family in their blood. The Indians 
stationed themselves in the dark angles of the fence, where, by the 
bright glare of the flames, they could see everything, and yet remain 
themselves unseen. Here they could make a sure mark of all that 
should escape from within. One of the sons took charge of his aged 
and infirm mother, and the other of his widowed sister and her 
infant. The brothers emerged from the burning ruins, separated and 
endeavored to spring over the fence. The mother was shot dead 
as her son was piously helping her over, the other brother being 
killed as he was gallantly defending his sister. The widowed sister, 
her infant and one of the brothers escaped the massacre and alarmed 
the settlement. Thirty men, commanded by Col. Edwards, arrived 
next day to witness the appalling spectacle presented around the 
smoking ruins of this cabin. Considerable snow had fallen, and the 
Indians were obliged to leave a trail which easily indicated their path. 
In the evening of that day, they came upon the expiring body of the 
young woman, apparently murdered but a few moments before their 
arrival ; the Indians having been premonished of their pursuit by 



56 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the barking of a dog that followed them. The white men overtook 
and killed two of the savages that had strayed behind, apparently as 
voluntary victims to secure the retreat of the rest." 

After numerous perils and escapes, and great services to the coun- 
try, Boone had the privilege of rejoicing in the peace that followed 
the defeat of the northern tribes of Indians by General Wayne. 
His perseverance had triumphed over all obstacles, and the kindred 
spirit of his wife had aided and encouraged him in his various ad- 
yentures, whether descending the Alleghanies, tracing the course of 
the Cumberland and Tennessee, roaming through the forests of 
Kentucky, wandering a captive through the wilderness to the great 
lakes, or following the waters of the Wabash, Miamis, and Scioto* 
When the tide of emigration had poured into the country, and dis- 
putes and litigation arose as to the ownership of land, the band of 
p rimitive pioneers was dispersed, and Boone moved his family to the 
woods on the banks of the Great Kanawha, having heard that deer 
and buffaloes were to be found on the unsettled lands near that 
river. Their home was for some years near Point Pleasant ; but 
game was not so abundant as could be desired, and the report of 
adventurers returned from the vast prairies and unexplored forests 
of the Missouri, determined Boone once more to flee from the 
encroaching advance of civilization. Taking up his rifle and light 
luggage, he set out with the faithful companion of his wanderings 
and their children, driving their stock -before them, and passed 
through Cincinnati in 1798, They settled in St. Charles County, 
about forty miles above St. Louis. After Missouri had come under 
the government of the United States, the tide of emigration and 
enterprise again swept by the dwelling of our pioneers, driving off 
the game, and changing the hunting grounds into farms. A fol- 
lower too, even more sure to overtake them, came on apace ; old age 
with its consequent infirmities. Mrs. Boone died in March 1813. 
A most faithful and efficient helpmeet had she proved to the pioneer, 
possessing the same energy, heroism, and firmness which he had 
shown in all the vicissitudes of his eventful career, with the gentler 
qualities by which woman, as the centre of the domestic system, 



REBECCA BOONT2. 57 

diffuses happiness and trains her children to become useful and hon- 
ored in after life. Having shared willingly in the hardships, labors 
and dangers of those adventurers whose names live in grateful re- 
membrance, she is entitled to some portion of the renown that has 
embalmed them. 

An anecdote or two illustrative of the insecurity of families in 
those days, and of the horrors undescribed in most cases, may not 
be inappropriate before closing this memoir. In the spring of 1780, 
Alexander McConnel, who lived at Lexington, then a small cluster 
of cabins, having killed a buck in the woods, went home for a horse, 
and returning, was seized and carried off by five Indians. After 
several days' travel, when they reached the banks of the Ohio, they 
omitted the precaution of binding him closely one night, merely 
tying the buffalo tug around his wrists, and fastening it to their 
bodies ; and he resolved on making his escape. About midnight, 
casting his eyes in the direction of his feet, they fell on the glittering 
blade of a knife which had escaped its sheath, and was lying near 
the feet of one of the Indians. He could not reach it with his 
hands, but with some difficulty grasped the blade between his toes, 
and drew it within reach. He then cut his cords, and silently extri- 
cated himself from his captors ; but he knew it would be necessary 
to kill them, to avoid pursuit and certain death. After anxious 
reflection, his plan was formed, and carefully removing the guns of 
the Indians, which were stacked near the fire, and hiding them in 
the woods, he took two, and returning to the spot where his ene- 
mies were still sleeping, he placed the muzzles of each on a log 
within six feet of his victims, and pulled both triggers. Both shots 
were fatal ; he then ran to secure one of the other rifles, and fired 
at two of the savages, standing in a line, killing one and wounding 
the other, who limped off into the forest. The fifth darted off like 
a deer, with a yell of astonishment and terror. McConnel not 
wishing to fight any more such battles, selected his own rifle from 
the stack, and made the best of his way to Lexington. A Mrs. 
Dunlap, who had been several months a prisoner among the Indians 
on Mad River, soon afterwards came to the same place, having 
3* 



58 - PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

made her escape, and reported that the survivor had returned to 
his tribe with a lamentable tale of an attack by a large party of 
white men, who had killed the poor bound prisoners, as well as his 
companions !* 

An adventure of a different kind befel McKinley, a school teacher, 
in the following year. While sitting alone at his desk, he heard a 
slight noise at the door, and saw an enormous wild cat. He rose to 
snatch up a cylindrical rule to defend himself, but the creature 
darted upon him, tore his clothes from his side, and buried her claws 
and teeth in his flesh. He threw himself on the edge of the table, 
and pressed the assailant against its sharp corner with all his force. 
Her cries, mingled with his own, now alarmed the neighbors, and 
after a few moments the dead animal was disengaged from her prey, 
though her tusks were dislodged with some difficulty from between 
his ribs. 

In the beginning of 1794, a party of Indians killed George Mason^ 
on Flat Creek, twelve miles from Knoxville. In the night he heard a 
noise in his stable, and stepped out ; was intercepted before he could 
return, by the savages, and fled, but was fired upon and wounded. 
He reached a cave, from which he was dragged out and murdered, and 
the Indians returned to the house to despatch his wife and children. 
Mrs. Mason heard them talking as they approached, and hoped her 
neighbors, aroused by the firing, had come to her assistance. But 
perceiving that the conversation was neither in English nor German, 
she knew they were enemies. She had that very morning learned 
how to set the double trigger of a rifle. Fortunately the children 
were not awakened, and she took care not to disturb them. She 
had shut the door, barred it with benches and tables, and taking 
down her husband's well charged rifle, placed herself directly oppo- 
site the opening which would be made by forcing the door. Her 
husband came not, and she was but too well convinced he had 
been slain. She was alone in darkness, and the yelling savages 
were pressing on the house. Pushing with great violence, they 
gradually opened the door wide enough to attempt an entrance, and 
* McClung's Sketches of Western Adventure. 



REBECCA BOONE. 59 

the body of one was thrust into the opening and filled it, two or 
three more urging him forward. Mrs. Mason set the trigger of the 
rifle, put the muzzle near the body of the foremost, and fired. The 
first Indian fell ; the next uttered the scream of mortal agony. The 
intrepid woman observed profound silence, and the savages were led 
to believe that armed men were in the house. They withdrew, 
took three horses from the stable, and set it on fire. It was after- 
wards ascertained that this high-minded woman had saved herself 
and children from the attack of twenty-five assailants. 

The opportunity seems favorable to notice the spirit and manners 
of those primitive times of Kentucky history. After the period of 
the attack on Bryant's Station, and the disastrous battle of the Blue 
Licks, which took place on the 18tfi of August, 1782, notwithstand- 
ing the dangers which surrounded the settlements, they began to 
have more of the aspect of communities. The proportion of women, 
which had hitherto been so small, became larger, and a license to 
marry is said to have been the first process issued by the clerks of 
the new counties. The first settlers having generally been composed 
of those who had braved the perils of settling the frontiers of the 
adjacent states, their helpmates were accustomed to labor and hard- 
ship. The duties of the household were discharged by the females. 

" They milked the cows, prepared the meats, spun and wove the 
garments of their husbands and children ; while the men hunted 
the game of the woods, cleared the land, and planted the grain. 
To grind the Indian corn into meal on the rude and laborious hand- 
mill, or to pound it into hominy in a mortar, was occasionally the 
work of either sex. The defence of the country, the building of 
forts and cabins, fell most properly to the share of the men ; though 
in those hardy times, it was not at all uncommon for females, during 
a siege, to run bullets and neck them for the rifle. Deer skins were 
extensively used for dress, to compose the hunting shirt, the Jong 
overalls, the leggins, and the soft and pliable moccasins ; the buffalo 
and bear furnished the principal covering for the night. Handker 
chiefs tied round the head, often supplied the place of hats ; strips 
of buffalo hide were used for ropes. Stores or shops were unknown ; 



60 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

wooden vessels either prepared by the turner, the cooper, or their 
rude representatives in the woods, were the common substitutes for 
table furniture. A tin cup was an article of delicate luxury almost 
as rare as an iron fork. Every hunter carried a knife, too aptly 
called a scalping knife, in the hands of the white man as well as 
in those of the Indian; and one or two knives would compose the 
cutlery of families. The furniture of the cabin was appropriate to 
the habitation ; the table was made of a slab, or thick, flat piece of 
timber, split and roughly hewn with the axe, with legs prepared in 
the same manner. This latter instrument was the principal tool in 
all mechanical operations, and with the adze, the auger, and above 
all, the rifle, composed the richest mechanical assortment of Ken- 
tucky. Stools of the same material and manufacture, filled the 
place of chairs. When some one more curiously nice than his 
neighbors, chose to elevate his bed above the floor (often the naked 
ground), it was placed on slabs laid across poles which were again 
supported by forks driven into the floor. If, however, the floor 
happened to be so luxurious as to be made of puncheons (another 
larger sort of slabs), the bedstead became hewed pieces, let into the 
sides of the cabin by auger holes in the logs. The cradle of these 
times was a small rolling trough, much like what is called the sugar 
trough, used to receive the sap of the sugar maple. Still the food 
in these rude habitations, and with this rough and inartificial furni- 
ture, was the richest milk and finest butter furnished by the luxu- 
riant pasture of the woods, covered with the rich pea vine and the 
luscious cane. The game of the country, it has been already seen, 
struck the experienced eye of even Boone as profuse beyond mea- 
sure ; it was the theme of admiration to evrery hunter ; nor did the 
abundance afford slight assistance to the whites in their conquest of 
the land. The enemy would never have permitted provisions to 
have been transported, or to have grown by the slow and peaceable 
processes of farming ; and the consequence must have been that 
the stations would have been starved into surrender, but for the pro- 
vidential supply of the deer, the buffalo, and the bear. These were 
to be obtained by every gallant rifleman ; and this so abundantly 






ANNA INNIS. 61 

that the buffalo has often been shot in order to enjoy either its 
hump or its tongue. The hospitality of these times was much less 
a merit than an enjoyment; often a protection to both parties. 
The fare wa's rough, but heartily and generously divided with every 
fellow-woodsman.' 1 * 

Generosity, hardihood, bravery, and endurance of suffering, were 
prominent and undeniable features in the character of these first 
settlers. But the female sex, though certainly an object of more 
regard than among the Indians, had to endure much hardship, and 
occupy a rank inferior to the male partner, among the earliest emi- 
grants, the state of society exercising high physical qualities 
rather than mental or artificial endowments. 



ANNA INNIS, widow of Hon. Henry Innis, and mother of Mrs. 
J. J. Crittenden, died at Cedar Hill, near Frankfort, Kentucky, May 
12th, 1851. This lady was one of the pioneers of Kentucky, and has 
been the pride of her State and an ornament to the country. Her 
early days were spent in the wilderness, and yet in the society of 
such men as Clarke, Wayne, Shelby, Scott, Boone, Henderson, 
Logan, Hart, Nicholas, Murray, Allen, Breckenridge, and all the 
great and heroic spirits of the West. She saw Washington as he 
led his broken army through the Jerseys, and as he returned in 
triumph from Yorktown. Of this remarkable woman the Frankfort 
Commonwealth says : 

" Her tenacious memory retained all she had seen, and she be- 
came the chronicler of her own times, and interwove her narrative 
with traditions of the past. Providence had been kind in all his 
dealings with her. He had blest her with a strong mind and con- 
stitution, and with great cheerfulness and courage. He had blessed 
her in her ' basket and her store.' He had blessed her in her chil- 
dren, and at last wh^n the message came, having borne all the trials 
of a long and eventful life with heroic firmness, she died in the full 
communion and fellowship of the Presbyterian Church, of which 
she had been long an exemplary member." 
* Butler's Kentucky. 






62 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Another of the eminent daughters of Kentucky was the mother 
of Gen. Leslie Combs, whose maiden name was Sarah Richardson. 
She was of a respectable Quaker family of Maryland, connected by 
blood with the Thomases and Snowdens. Leslie, the youngest of 
twelve children, was just eighteen when he started as a volunteer to 
join the Kentucky troops ordered to the northern frontier, under 
Gen. Winchester, in 1812. Two of his elder brothers had 
previously entered the service, and with earnest entreaties he 
prevailed on his parents to let him go, setting forward alone a few 
weeks after the army had marched. " I shall never forget," were 
his words in after years, " the parting scene with my beloved and 
venerated mother, in which she reminded me of my father's history, 
and her own trials and dangers in the early settlement of Kentucky, 
and closed by saying to me ' as I had resolved to become a soldier, 
I must never disgrace my parents by running from danger ; but die 
rather than fail to do my duty. 1 This injunction was ever present 
to me afterwards in the midst of dangers and difficulties of which I 

o 

had then formed no idea, and stimulated me to deeds I might 
otherwise, perhaps, have hesitated to undertake or perform." 

The residence of Mrs. Combs, after her removal from the picketed 
station where she first lived in Kentucky, was on a farm about six 
miles from Boonesborough. The family suffered much from the 
depredations of the Indians who then infested the country from the 
Ohio to the Tennessee. Mrs. Combs' ridino- horse was shot clown 

o 

under her eldest son while he and his father were on a trapping 
excursion within two or three miles of home. They did not return 
as soon as expected, and the mother was left alone in the cabin with 
two or three little children, a prey to the most agonizing apprehen- 
sions. It was through her industry and energy that her children 
were enabled to obtain a better education than was usual in the 
country in those days. This fact is mentioned in the inscription on 
lier*tombstone, which stands on the farm where they lived and died, 
alongside of that inscribed with the name of her husband, recorded 
as " a Revolutionary officer and a Hunter of Kentucky." 
. NOTE. See page 428. 



IV. 

CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON. 

CHARLOTTE REEVES was the second daughter of George Reeves and 
Mary Jordan, and was born in Northampton County, N. C., in Jan- 
nary 1751. Her parents were poor in worldly possessions, and were 
able to give their children only a limited education ; but they trained 
them to labor and habits of systematic industry, and in those strict 
principles which guided and preserved their parents through life, 
and made their example useful. Soon after the marriage of Char- 
lotte with James Robertson, the young couple crossed the mountains 
and fixed their abode in one of the new settlements on the Watauga 
or Hols ton River. 

In 1779, Robertson went with some others* to explore the 
Cumberland Valley, leaving his family behind. They explored 
the country to the neighborhood of the spot where Nashville 
now stands, planted there a field of corn, and leaving three of the 
party to keep the buffaloes out of the corn, returned to East 
Tennessee for their families. The fame of the fertile Cumberland 
lands, the salubrity of the air, the excellence of the water, and the 
abundance of game of all sorts, was soon diffused through all the 
frontier settlements, and many took the resolution of emigrating 
to this land of plenty. Companies came and built cabins and block 
houses, and in the latter part of February or first of March 1780, 



64 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Mrs. Robertson left her home at the mouth of Big Creek on the 
Holston, for the purpose of joining her husband. Her party con- 
sisted of herself and four small children, her brother William 
Beeves, Charles Robertson her husband's brother, her sister-in-law, 
and three little nieces, with two white men servants, a negro woman 
and her infant. These voyagers were conveyed in two of the small 
and frail flat-boats appointed to convey the families of emigrants to 
their new homes in the wilderness. Capt. James Robertson was to 
head the party travelling by land through Kentucky to the same 
point of destination, and driving the cattle belonging to the little 
colony ; and had left home some weeks previously, with his eldest 
son, fourteen years of age. Those who went by water descended 
the north fork of the Holston, and proceeded down Tennessee 
River. The various difficulties they encountered, the perils and 
fatigues of this tedious and dangerous trip, were more numerous 
that it is now possible to detail. At the mouth of Duck River they 
expected to land and make their way through the wilderness to the 
" Cumberland County," but the guides failing to meet them, they 
continued their voyage to the mouth of the Tennessee. At this 
point their difficulties were fearfully increased. The ice was just 
broken up in the Ohio, the water was rising, and the aspect of things 
appeared so discouraging to their pilot, that he abandoned the enter- 
prise in. despair, and left the company to make their way in the best 
manner possible up the river, having to ascend against a rapid cur- 
rent, with clumsy and scarcely manageable boats, some two hundred 
miles. The emigrants were worn out and disheartened with the 
toil of the voyage already accomplished, the men were strangers to 
the navigation of the Ohio, which flowed for the most part 
through an unbroken forest, infested on either side with wild 
beasts and more merciless Indians; their lives seemed endan- 
gered at every step, and so dreary was the prospect, that about 
one half the company decided against pursuing the enterprise, 
bade adieu to their companions, and shoving their boats into 
the smooth current of the Ohio, sought homes for thoir families in 
Natchez. The others turned their bows up the river. Of Mrs. 



CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON. 65 

Robertson's party only two men were left, her brother and brother- 
in-law. They lashed the two boats together ; Mrs. Johnson, the 
widowed sister of Capt. Robertson, undertook to serve as pilot, and 
managed the steering oar, while Mrs. Robertson and Hagar, the 
African woman, worked at the side oars alternately with Reeves and 
Robertson. By this tedious and laborious progress, they made their 
way up the Ohio to the mouth of the Cumberland, and up the 
Cumberland to the point of destination, landing in the beginning of 
April at the site of Nashville. 

Hay wood, in his history of Tennessee, describes the voyage made 
by "The Adventure" and other boate, which, leaving the fort on the 
Holston the 22d of December, 1779, did not reach the "Big Salt 
Lick" till the latter part of April. An extract may give an idea of 
the perils of the expedition. In passing Indian villages on the 
Tennessee, the voyagers had been accosted by many of the savages 
with professions of friendship, designed to cover a hostile purpose! 

" In a short time the crew came in sight of another town, situated 
on the north side of the river, nearly opposite a small island. Here 
also the Indians invited those on board to come on shore, calling 
them brothers, and seeing the boats standing to the opposite side^ 
told the passengers that their side was the best for the boats to pass 
the island on. A young man on board the boat of Capt. John 
Blackmore, approaching too near the shore, was shot in the boat 
from the shore. Mr. Stewart had set off in a boat on board which 
were blacks and whites to the number of twenty-eight. His family 
being diseased with the small pox, it was agreed that he should 
keep at some distance in the rear. He was to be informed each 
night where the others lay by the sound of a horn. The foremost 
boats having passed the town, the Indians collected in considerable 
numbers. Seeing him far behind, they intercepted him in their 
canoes, and killed and made prisoners the whole crew. The crews 
of the other boats were not able to relieve him, being alarmed for 
their own safety, for they perceived large bodies of Indians march- 
ing on foot down the river, keeping pace with the boats, till tho 
Cumberland mountain covered them from view. The boats were 



66 PIONEER WOMEN OF TIIE WEST. 

now arrived at the place called the Whirl or Suck, where the river 
is compressed into less than half its common width, by the Cumber- 
land mountain jutting into, .it on both sides. In passing through 
the upper pail of these narrows, at a place termed the Boiling Pot, 
a man of the name of John Cotton was descending the river in a 
canoe with a small family, and had attached it to Robert Cart- 
wright's boat, into which he and his family had entered for safety. 
The canoe was here overturned, and the little cargo lost. The movers 
pitying his distress, concluded to land and assist him in recovering 
his property. Having landed on the north shore at a level spot 
they began to go towards the place where the misfortune had hap- 
pened, when the Indians, to their astonishment, appeared on the 
opposite cliffs, and commenced firing down upon them. The Indians 
continued their fire from heights upon the boats. In the boat of 
Mr. Gower was his daughter Nancy. When the crew were thrown 
into disorder and dismay, she took the helm, and steered the boat, 
exposed to all the fire of the enemy. A ball passed through her 
clothes, and penetrated the upper part of her thigh, going out on 
the opposite side. It was not discovered that she was wounded by 
any complaint she made, or a word she uttered, but after the dan- 
ger was over, her mother discovered the blood flowing through her 
clothes." 

Reaching the mouth of the Tennessee the 20th of March, they 
parted with their companions who were discouraged from proceed- 
ing, and the Adventure, with the boats which accompanied her, went 
up the Ohio. " They made but little way on that day, and en- 
camped on the south bank of the Ohio, suffering on that and the 
two following days much uneasiness from hunger and fatigue. On 
the 24th of March, they came to the mouth of Cumberland River, 
but its size was so much less than they had expected to find it, that 
some would not believe it to be the Cumberland. It flowed in a 
gentle current ; they had heard of no river on the south side of the 
Ohio, between the Tennessee and Cumberland, and they determined 
to go up this as the Cumberland, and did so. On the 25th, the 
river seemed to grow wider ; the current was very gentle, and they 



CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON. 67 

were now convinced it was the Cumberland. The crews were now 
without bread, and were obliged to hunt the buffalo, and feed on 
his flesh. On the 24th of April, 1780, they came to the Big Salt 
Lick, where they found Capt. James Robertson and his company, 
and where they were gratified at meeting those friends whom, but a 
little before, it was doubtful whether they should ever see again. 
They also found a few log cabins, erected by Capt. Robertson and his 
associates, on a cedar bluff, on the south side of the river, at some 
distance from the Salt Spring." 

For years after their removal the families of the settlement suf- 
fered many privations, and were compelled to live most of the time 
within the shelter of the forts, being subjected to ferocious attacks 
by the Indians. Two of Mrs. Robertson's sons were murdered by 
. the savages. It was indeed a constant scene of anxiety and danger 
to the close of the Indian war in 1794, and the frequent alarms, 
and incidents of persons being killed or wounded at or near the fort 
occupied by our heroine, gave her full experience of all the horrors 
of war. At one time she had the agony of seeing brought in from 
the adjoining woods the headless body of a beloved son ; and it 
cannot be wondered at that she was heard to say in after life she 
would not live those years over again to be insured the possession of 
the world. 

" In the year 1782, and for several years afterwards, the common 
custom of the country was, for one or two persons to stand as watch- 
men or sentinels, whilst others labored in the field ; and even whilst 
one went to a spring to drink, another stood on the watch with his 
gun ready to give him protection by shooting a creeping Indian, or 
one rising from the thicket of canes and brush, that covered him 
from view ; and wherever four or five were assembled together at a 
spring or other place where business required them to be, they held 
their guns in their hands, and with their backs turned to each other, 
one faced the north, another the south, another the west, watching 
in all directions for a lurking or creeping enemy. While the people 
were so much harassed and galled by the Indians that they could 
not plant and cultivate their corn-fields, a proposition was made in a 



68 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

council of the inhabitants of the bluff, to break up the settlement 
and go off. Capt. Robertson pertinaciously resisted this proposition ; 
it was then impossible to get to Kentucky ; the Indians were in 
force upon all the roads and passages which led thither ; for the 
same reason it was equally impracticable to remove to the settle- 
ments on the Holston. No other means of escape remained but that 
of going down the river in boats, and making good their retreat to the 
Illinois ; and to this plan great obstacles were opposed, for how was 
the wood to be obtained with which to make the boats? The 
Indians were every day in the skirte of the bluff, lying concealed 
among the shrubs, privy and cedar trees, ready to inflict death upon 
whoever should attempt to go to the woods to procure timber for 
building a boat. These difficulties were all stated by Capt. Robert- 
son ; he held out the dangers attendant on the attempt on the 
one hand ; the fine country they were about to possess themselves 
of on the other ; the probability of new acquisitions of numbers 
from the interior settlements, and the certainty of being able, by a 
careful attention to circumstances, to defend themselves till succor 
could arrive. Finally, their apprehensions were quieted, and gra- 
dually they relinquished the design of evacuating the positions they 
occupied."* 

The following extract from a " Talk " from " The Glass," a Chero- 
kee chief, to Gov. Blount, dated " Look-out Mountain," Sept. 10th, 
1792, may show something of the state of feeling prevalent between 
the hostile parties. 

" Codeatoy returned here from the treaty at Nashville, and tells 
us that Col. Robertson said there had been a great deal of blood 
spilled in his settlement, and that he would come and sweep it clean 
with our blood. This caused our young warriors to assemble to- 
gether to meet him, as he told Codeatoy that the first mischief that 
should be done, he would come ; and we knew of course it would 
not be long before something might happen, as there are Creeks 
daily going to that settlement ; and as they expect to suffer for the 
doings of others, they resolved they would meet him, or go to the 
* Haywood. 



CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON. 69 

settlements and do mischief, as they were to be the sufferers, do it 
who would. But with the assistance of Bloody Fellow, John Watts, 
and some other head men, we have sent them to their different 
homes, and to mind their hunting, in hopes you will not suffer any 
of your people to send any more threatening talks. We took pity 
upon the innocent that might suffer on both sides, which undoubt- 
edly would have been the case. As I have always listened to your 
talks, I hope you will listen to mine, and have peace."* 

Gov. Blount writes to Gen. Robertson, March 8th, 1794 : 

" Your letter of 6th Feb., sent express by James Russell, was 
handed to me much stained with his blood by Mr. Shannon, who 
accompanied him. Russell was wounded by a party of Indians who 
ambuscaded him about eighteen miles from South West Point, 
which he with difficulty reached, and was obliged to continue there 
for several days before he could be removed. He is now in the hands 
of a skilful surgeon, and it is hoped will recover. His fifty dollars 
have been dearly earned ; but instead of complaining, he may rejoice 
that he has so often escaped."f 

In a letter from John McKee to " The Glass" and other chiefs 
of the lower towns of the Cherokee nation, he speaks of an expecta- 
tion on their part that he would meet them on the middle ground 
for a " ball play." This was a national game, by which parties 
sometimes decided their claims io disputed land. It was a manly 
sport often witnessed by assembled thousands. 

The following description of the game is furnished by a gentleman 
of Nashville, who has lived among the Indians. 

The contending parties always consist of twelve on a side 
twenty-four in all, selected from among the most athletic men in the 
station. Each side is headed by one who is captain, or principal 
man. The ball used on such occasions was generally made of 
the common punk, obtained from the knots of trees^ or some soft 
dry root, and is always covered with dressed buckskin, and about 
the size of a walnut. The ball is never to be touched with 

* Copied from MS. letter in the Historical Collection at Nashville. 
t MS. Letter. 



70 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the hands, but is caught, held, and thrown with a set of sticks 
made expressly for the purpose. The ball stick is made of 
a piece of tough wood, about six feet in length, and the thickness 
of a small walking-stick, reduced one half in the middle, for about 
ten inches. The piece of wood is then bent till the ends are 
brought together, forming a bowl something like the bowl of a 
spoon, while the two strips of wood are wrapped together from the 
bowl to the ends with a leathern string, to make the handle; the 
bowl being finished with buckskin strings, fastened to the wood on 
all sides, and crossing each other, forming meshes like a fine seine, 
and left loose so as to bag a little. The ball-stick, when finished, 
was a spoon with a bowl about as large as a man's hand, and a 
handle some three feet long. Each man is furnished with two 
sticks, which together would hold as much as a quart measure. 

The playground is generally laid off east and west, and the two 
poles are placed from a quarter to half a mile from each other. 
The poles are two stakes put up about twenty yards apart, and the 
ball has to pass between these two stakes in order to count one in 
the game. Halfway between the poles a line is drawn ; those who 
wish the ball to pass through the western pole, take their stand 
about twenty yards erst of the centre line, and those in favor of the 
eastern pole take their position about the same distance on the west 
of the line. While the two captains take their stand at the division 
line, the ball is laid upon the ground, on the centre line. One of 
the captains takes it up with his sticks, and throws it up some thirty 
or forty feet ; and then the game begins. The two captains, one in 
favor of the western, the other of the eastern pole, as the ball 
descends, contend for it, leaping as high as they can, while the 
sticks rattle and crash together; should these two be of equal 
strength and expertness in the game, the contention may be long 
and fierce, and it sometimes so happens that they struggle until per- 
fectly exhausted, without the ball taking a start for either pole. At 
other times the ball is caught in its descent, and hurled with great 
rapidity towards one of the poles ; but whatever direction it takes, it 
meets the opposition of eleven persons who have taken their stand 



CIIAKLOTT& ROBERTSON. 71 

in that direction, by some of whom it is sure to be caught and 
hurled in a different direction. I have seen the ball hurled back 
and forward in this way for minutes together. At other times I 
have seen the whole twenty-four contend pell-mell together for 
several seconds, while a spectator could not tell where the ball was. 
Again, I have seen the whole party take a right angular direction 
to the poles, in consequence of the hand being interrupted at the 
moment of throwing the ball, and thus work away entirely without 
the limits of the playground, until recalled by the judges. 

There is no time for breathing, from the moment the ball ia 
thrown up at the centre line, until it passes through one of the 
poles, unless the judges should call them off for the purpose of 
recess ; and never have I seen human beings so much fatigued as at 
the end of one of these strains. 

One thing which I have observed extremely objectionable in 
these plays, is this ; any one of the party is allowed to double up 
his antagonist, notwithstanding they are not permitted to strike, 
scratch, or bruise each other. The doubling is done in the follow- 
ing manner : One will catch his antagonist, throw him upon his 
back, take him. by the feet, elevate them, and press his head and 
shoulders upon the ground until the poor fellow is disabled in the 
back. This practice results sometimes in rendering the individual 
so helpless, that he has to be carried off the ground. 

The only clothing carried into a ball-pla^ is the belt, with a 
piece of some kind of cloth about eighteen inches square, appended 
in front ; but they generally come out of these plays, as far as cloth- 
ing is concerned, about as they came into the world. There is 
always the same number in reserve that are engaged in the play, so 
that when one is disabled, another supplies his place, in order that 
the number, twenty-four, may be kept up. There are two sets of 
judges; six for and six against the western pole, take their position 
there ; and in like manner at the eastern pole. The ball has to 
pass twelve times between the same pole, or stakes, before the game 
ends. 

In 1794, Mrs. Robertson went on horseback into South Carolina 



^2 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

accompanied by her eldest son, to bring out her aged parents, who 
had removed to that State with some of their children. They 
returned to Tennessee with their daughter, who was now able to offer 
them a comfortable home, and under her roof the remainder of their 
days passed in peace and comfort. Both lived beyond the eightieth 
year of their life, and had the passage to the grave smoothed by the 
devoted attentions of an affectionate daughter, and her equally 
devoted children. 

At the period of most imminent danger to the settlement, Mrs. 
Kobertson was often deprived of the support which kept the other 
women from despondency. Her husband was looked upon as the 
special protector of the infant colony, and had laborious duties to 
perform for its security and comfort. He was obliged every year to 
take the long and hazardous journey through the wilderness to 
North Carolina, for the purpose of attending the sessions of the 
Legislature, and using his utmost endeavors to have the aid of that 
body.* extended to the feeble and distant settlement on the Cumber- 
land. This was done by Gen. Robertson for eight or ten years in 
succession, and while thus absent from home a great part of his 
time, he and his family were exposed to perils of various kinds, and 
obliged to remain ignorant for long intervals of each other's condi- 
tion. For fourteen years these trials, endured by Mrs. Robertson 
and her family, called for their utmost fortitude and energy to bear 
up under them, and under harassing anxiety for the fate of their 
absent guardian,- exposed unprotected to the attacks of savage 
enemies. 

On one occasion, Gen. Robertson and his eldest son, Jonathan, 
then nearly grown to manhood, went into the surrounding woods to 
see after some horses that had gone astray. The General had a led 
horse, and did not take his gun. They had scarcely entered the 
woods when they were fired on by five or six Indians who lay in 
ambush near the path. A ball passed through the young man's 
thigh and entered his horse's side ; the father also received two 
balls, one fracturing the bones of his left arm just above the wrist, 
the other passing through the flesh of his right arm without injuring 



CHABLOTTE EOBERTSON. 73 

the bone. Jonathan's horse, maddened by fright and the wound, 
became unmanageable, and plunged so violently, that fearing the 
animal might fall with him, and entangle him I'^yond escape, he 
raised himself in his stirrups and leaped to the ground, alighting on 
his feet. He then turned on the Indians, who rushed towards him, 
and prepared to fire, while the savages ran to the shelter of trees to 
protect themselves. One was behind a tree not large enough to 
screen his body, and young Robertson taking aim, fired at him ; 
then hastened after his father, whose horse, released for the moment 
from the control of the bridle by the disabling of the rider's hands, 
had dashed off furiously in a different direction from the fort. 
When the General heard his son shouting to him, he checked the 
animal, and the young man sprung on the back of the led horse, 
which had followed close on the heels of the other. The whole 
scene occurred within the hearing of the inmates of the fort, and as 
the fugitives were compelled to take a circuitous route to reach a 
place of safety, it may be imagined what were the feelings of the 
wife and mother during a prolonged period of fearful suspense, 
when the probabilities that her husband and son were murdered or 
captive, increased with every passing moment. The Indian Jonathan 
had shot, was found afterwards so badly wounded that he died in a 
few days. His gun and shot-bag were found secreted under a log 
near the tree, the bark of which had been scalped by the bullet. 

A short time after Jonathan's marriage, he determined on making 
a settlement on some land he had purchased, a mile or so from his 
father's fort. He built a cabin, and commenced clearing the land ; 
but was prevented by other occupations from continuing his work, 
and hired a man by the name of Hiland to carry it on. This 
laborer went to the place alone ; but had been employed only a few 
days, when returning one evening from his work, he cut a large 
bundle of green cane, and was carrying it on his shoulder to his 
house ; the rustling of this cane afforded a party of Indians a fail- 
opportunity of coming up behind him without being perceived, and 
as he was in the-act of throwing the cane over the fence, they shot 
him down and scalped him. Gen. Robertson, hearing of the occur-* 
4 



74 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

rence, determined, if possible, to insure future security to the settlers 
by pursuing and cutting off these marauding parties, and issued an 
order to Capt. Thomas Murray, to raise a company of volunteers 
and overtake the Indians, or pursue them into the very heart of the 
nation. A detachment was raised ; the. settlers, anxious to strike a 
blow for their own security, joining in large numbers, and the pur- 
suit was commenced with a hundred and ten mounted men. After 
a few days, the spies reported the Indians encamped on the 
Tennessee at the Muscle Shoals ; the company attacked the camp, 
and several of the savages were killed, some making their escape, 
and two squaws being captured. 

Young Robertson, meanwhile, was not discouraged from prose- 
cuting his enterprise, but removed to his new place with his wife, 
and a negro named Ephraim. Determined to persevere in pre- 
paring the land and making a home for his family, he engaged two 
of his wife's cousins, named Cowen, to assist him in his labors. They 
were all at work one day in the clearing, and were as usual sum- 
moned to dinner by a call from the house. They had stacked their 
arms against a large tree some fifty yards from the edge of the clear- 
ing, and between that and the house. It had been settled between 
them that in case of an attack by Indians, they should rush instantly 
to seize their arms, each take a tree, and make a stand against the 
enemy. On hearing the call to dinner, the men laid down their 
working implements, and stopped to push up the brush which had 
not been consumed into the brush-piles, not perceiving that several 
Indians had crept along under cover of the woods, and approached 
very near them. The moment they discovered the enemy, they 
sprang forward to secure their arms, while the savages, who had 
reached the edge of the clearing by the time the white men gained 
their weapons, rushed in pursuit. The directions previously agreed 
upon were observed, and each pioneer snatched his gun and sprang 
behind a tree. At the moment Robertson raised his gun, he per- 
ceived an Indian partly concealed behind another tree, and preparing 
to fire. His body projected far enough beyond the cover to afford 
a fair chance of hitting him ; Robertson fired, and at the same 



CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON. 75 

instant the Cowens did also. This spirited defence alarmed the 
Indians ; they began to retreat, and had disappeared in the cane 
before their foes could reload. Meanwhile poor Ephraim, who had 
a terror of gunpowder, could not stand his ground with the rest of 
the party, but hastened with all his speed towards the house ; and 
when, after the flight of the enemy, the white men raised the 
Indian yell by way of a triumph note, the affrighted negro, rushing 
into the cabin, gave the inmates reason to suppose that all their 
friends were killed and scalped. This horrible fear, however, was 
soon dissipated by the appearance of the victorious settlers return- 
ing to the house. One of the Cowens was slightly wounded in the 
v hand, and the rim of Kobertson's hat on one side was nearly severed 
from the crown by an Indian bullet, but no other injury had been 
received. This incident is worthy of notice, as the only instance 
during the period of the Indian troubles in which white men, fired 
on while at work in the field, made a stand, and succeeded in driv- 
ing off the assailants. It was afterwards ascertained from the 
Indians that five of their number had been either killed or wounded 
so desperately that they died before reaching home. It should be 
mentioned that one of the pioneers used a British musket loaded 
with rifle bullets, and fired at a number of Indians together as they 
rushed into the thin cane bordering the clearing. It was believed 
the party of savages had numbered fifteen. 

An instance of female heroism which occurred at a station some 
six miles west of Nashville, may be here related. Mrs. Dunham, 
the wife of one of the pioneers, while sitting in her house at work 
her little children playing in the yard heard them scream 
out suddenly, and rushing to the door, saw them running from 
several Indians. One of the savages was in the act of clutching her 
daughter, six or seven years of age, and succeeded in laying hold of 
the child, a few yards from the door. There were no men on the 
premises ; but the mother seized a hoe standing against the house 
near the door, and rushed at the Indian with the uplifted weapon. 
Before she came near enough to strike him with it, however, he let 
go the child, who ran into the house, the mother following. The 



76 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Indian pursued them closely, and pushed his gun into the door 
before it could be closed, to shoot Mrs. Dunham. She kept her 
hold of the door, and slammed it to violently, catching the gun be- 
tween it and the door-post, and holding it with all her force, while 
the savage tried in vain to get the weapon released. She then, with 
singular presence of mind, called aloud as if to some person within, 
'* Bring me that gun !" The Indian understood enough of English 
to know her meaning, and believing there were other persons in the 
house, he left his gun and made off. The other children had found 
shelter in the house, and were thus preserved from massacre by their 
mother's energy and self-possession. 

Mrs. Dunham's oldest son, Daniel a boy nine or ten years of 
age had a remarkable escape. He was out playing one day with 
two or three other boys a little larger than himself, and the youth- 
ful party carelessly wandered a short distance out of gunshot of the 
fort. They were observed by some Indians who resolved to take 
them prisoners. This was a more profitable business than killing 
them, as they could make useful servants of the captives, or obtain a 
large ransom for them from their bereaved friends. With this 
object, the savages left their guns, and crept stealthily as near the 
boys as the nature of the ground permitted them to do without 
being seen. As they rose upon their feet to spring forward and 
seize their prey, the boys saw them, gave a cry of alarm, and 
instantly started in a life and death race for the fort. Young Dun- 
ham, the smallest lad, was the hindmost, but he fled with the speed 
of a frightened fawn, closely pursued, however, his enemy gaining 
ground upon him, till just as he came within the range of protec- 
tion from the fort, the Indian overtook him, and laid hold of his 
flannel hunting shirt. Throwing his arms back suddenly, the nim- 
ble boy slipped out of the garment and ran on, leaving the disap- 
pointed savage holding his trophy, for he dared not pursue the 
fugitive any further. 

Through a multitude of such trials Mrs. Robertson was preserved. 
She was the mother of eleven children, and lived to an advanced 
age, leaving a number of descendants, useful and prosperous citizens 



CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON. 77 

in the valley to which she came as a pioneer. She witnessed the 
gradual growth of the place selected as her home from a wilderness 
to a rude settlement, and thence to a town of importance. In 1805 
Nashville boasted but one brick house, although Market- street and a 
few others were laid out. There was a log schoolhouse, and the 
wild forest encircled the future capital. There was difficulty at that 
time in procuring supplies of provisions ; it took three or four months 
to go to and from New Orleans in the flat-bottomed boats, which 
always started as soon as the waters rose, and returned in the spring 
laden with groceries, grain, and various articles for provision and 
clothing. Furs were procured of the Indians. There were at that 
period no good schools in the valley, and pupils were sent to Caro- 
lina and the Eastern States to be educated, by parents who were 
able to afford the expense. Stores for use or trading purposes were 
sometimes brought in wagons from Baltimore and Philadelphia, 
through the eastern portion of Tennessee ; but pack-horses had 
baen generally used. Two men could manage ten or fifteen horses, 
carrying each about two hundred pounds, by tying one to the other 
in single file, one man taking charge of the leading, the other of the 
hindmost horse, to keep an eye on the proper adjustment of the 
loads, and to stir up any that appeared to lag. Bells were indis- 
pensable accompaniments to the horses, by which they could be 
found, in the morning when hunting up preparatory to a start. 
Grass or leaves were inserted in the bells to prevent the clapper 
from moving during the travel of the day. The first wagon-load 
of merchandize brought over the mountains on the southern route, 
is said to have been in 1789, when it was nearly a month making 
# trip of one hundred and forty miles. 

" The water-craft used in descending the Ohio in those primitive 
times, were flat boats made of green oak plank, fastened by wooden 
pins to a frame of timber, and caulked with tow or any other pliant 
substance that could be procured. Boats similarly constructed on 
the northern waters, were called " arks," but on the Western rivers 
they were ^denominated Kentucky boats. The materials of which 
they were composed were found useful in constructing temporary 



78 , PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

buildings for safety and protection against the inclemency of the 
weather, after they had arrived at their destination."* 

In early life Mrs. Eobertson became a member of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, and with her husband joined the first society of 
that denomination organized in the country, under the preaching of 
Wilson Lee. The class met to hear the word preached and for 
social communion, about three miles west of Nashville. She 
continued an exemplary member of this Church to her death. 

In all the relations of life she was faithful, and strict in the per- 
formance of every duty. Her manners were modest, unassuming 
and gentle; she was kind and affectionate in her family, a most 
devoted and loving mother, and a careful, though indulgent mis- 
tress. She was ever open-hearted and benevolent, soothing the ills 
she had no power to remove. Her industrious habits and self- 
denying virtues were an example to all who knew her, and she was 
esteemed and beloved by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. 
In person she was rather above the medium size, with a symmetri- 
cal form, and regular, interesting, and expressive features. She 
retained to the close of life the faculties of mind and body in uncom- 
mon vigor ; and in the full expectation of a glorious immortality 
calmly closed her eyes on the scenes of earth in her ninety-third 
year, June llth, 1843, at the house of her son-in-law, John B. 
Craighead, three miles west of Nashville. 

General Robertson was engaged during the greater part of his 
life in public service. In his latter years he was appointed Indian 
agent in the Choctaw nation, where he died in 1814. His bones 
were removed some years since from the Indian lands, and deposited 
in the burial ground at Nashville. The sons murdered by the 
Indians were Peyton Henderson, eleven years of age, and James 
Randolph, about twenty. With the exception of these, and an 
infant daughter, the children of Mrs. Robertson lived to marry and 
have families of their own. Three daughters and two sons are liv- 
ing at this date, and Dr. Robertson, one of the sons, is one of the 
most highly esteemed citizens of Nashville. 
* Burners Notes. 



V. 

JANE BROWN. 

MANY fearful tales of the individual suffering which marked the 
early history of Tennessee, are only known to a few as family tra- 
ditions, and remembered by the descendants of those who bore a 
part, as stories of the nursery and not as chapters in the great his- 
toric record of the past. Yet the experience and conduct of a single 
individual may often better illustrate the condition, progress, and 
character of a people, than whole chapters devoted to the details of 
a campaign. 

The traditional recollections detailed in the following sketch of tho 
family of James Brown, connected as they were intimately 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 amidst so many 
troubles, in the dark and bloody valleys of the Shauvanon, Tanasees, 
and Ho-go-hegee. 

Jane Gillespie was born in Pennsylvania about the year 1 740. 
Her father was a pioneer in the settlement of North Carolina. Her 
family was one of the most respectable as well as the most worthy 
in the county of Guilford, where they resided during the Revolu- 
tionary war. Two of her brothers, Col. and Maj. Gillespie, were 



80 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

distinguished for their gallantry and devotion to the cause of liberty, 
and were honored as brave officers. Herself and most of her fam 
ily were members of the Rev. David Cald well's church at Guil- 
ford, and ardently espoused his political and religious principles. 

About the year 1761 or 1762, Miss Gillespie became the wife of 
James Brown, a native of Ireland, whose family had settled in Guil- 
ford 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 mas- 
terly retreat of General Greene, in the winter of 1781, on Dan and 
Deep rivers, Brown was the pilot and guide of Colonels Lee and 
Washington, and by his intimate knowledge of the couutry, its by- 
paths and fords, contributed not a little to the successful counter- 
inarches of the American army, by which they were enabled to elude 
and break the spirit of the army of Lord Cornwallis. When the 
Americans assumed the offensive, and, from a retreating, suddenly 
became a pursuing army. Brown pressed 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 prospect of a plodding life of toil in Guilford. For 
his Revolutionary services he had received from the State of North 
Carolina land-warrants, which entitled him to locate a large quan- 
tity of land in the wilderness beyond the mountains. His neigh- 
bors had made him sheriff of his county, and a justice of the County 
Court, and he was rapidly rising in the estimation of his country- 
men for his patriotism, integrity, and many other virtues of a good 
citizen. But he readily saw the advantages which he might secure 
to his rising family by sinking out into the deep forests, and secur- 
ing for them the choicest homes in the Tennessee and Cumberland 

o 

valleys. He could command only a trifle in money for his land 
scrip, but by exposing himself to a few years of hardship and dan- 
ger, he could secure independent estates for his numerous children. 
With him, to be convinced was to aci>: his decision and his action 
went together. Tearing himself from the bosom of his family and 



JANE BROWN. 81 

all the endearments of a happy home circle, he set out on his jour- 
ney to explore the valley of the Cumberland. The whole of Ten- 
nessee was then a wilderness, except a small spot on the Holston 
or 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 eldest sons, William and John, and a few 
tried friends, he explored the Cumberland 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, as far as 
Duck river, and located a large body of land south of Duck river, 
near Columbia. The whole country was then almost untrodden by 
the foot of the white man. It was the hunting-ground of the 
Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees, and was full of deer, elk, bears, 
and buffaloes. The rich uplands, as well as the alluvial bottoms of 
the rivers, were covered with cane-brakes, which were almost imper- 
vious to man. Whoever penetrated these regions, did so with knife 
and hatchet to cut away the cane, and with rifle to oppose the sav- 
age beasts and savage men who sheltered in its deep fastnesses. 
But Brown's heart was a bold one, and his hopes for the future ani- 
mated him to perseverance. Having located by actual survey seve- 
ral fine tracts of land, he determined to return to Guilford, and 
remove his family to their new home in the West. Leaving Wil- 
liam as a deputy surveyor under Col. 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 1787-8, Brown and his family, having disposed 
of their property, found themselves 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 friendship between that nation 
and the Americans. At the time Brown arrived on the banks of 
the French Broad, there was apparent acquiescence in the terms 

of this treaty, and the Cherokee and the white man seemed, for a 

* I 

4* 



82 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

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 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 Bleds'oe'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 
Col. 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 valuable goods, which he was tak- 
ing 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 marauding parties of Creeks and 
Shawanees were often on its shores and in the towns. He knew 
the danger of the voyage, on account of the hostile Indians ; and 
he also knew its numerous shoals, rapids and eddies, rendered its 
navigation perilous to such frail open boats as could then be con- 
structed. But he trusted in the honest disposition of the Cherokees 
to conform to the treaty of Hope well, and judged that the maraud- 
ing Creeks and Shawanees 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 route, feeling a sort of manly desire to 
meet and overcome it. 

Having built a boat in the style of a common flatboat, modeled as 
much as possible after Noah's ark, except that it was open at the 
top, he prepared to adventure the fearful voyage. About the 1st of 
May, 1788, having taken on board a large amount of goods suitable 
for traffic among the Indians and the pioneers in Cumberland, his 



JANE BROWN. 83 

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 in the savages, as upon any damage which he expected to 
inflict upon them with it. Thus appointed and thus equipped, this 
happy family began its eventful descent of the river. All was glad- 
ness, all was sunshine. The land of their fathers, of their loved 
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 their new home in the valley of the fairy Cumberland. 
As they passed rapidly along, the father sat in the midst of his little 
children, hopefully describing their new home in the deep forests of 
the West. 

They thus descended the French Broad to the Tennessee, and 
went on merrily down its waters to Chickamauga, a considerable 
town of Cherokee Indians, not far from the present site of Chatta- 
nooga. Here the Indians appeared friendly ; the principal chief 
went on board the boat, and made inquiry for various articles of 
goods, proposed to trade, and finally took his leave, with many pro- 
fessions of kindness. Our voyagers continued their descent, rejoicing 
in the happy omen which the friendship of the Chickamauga chief- 
tain opened for their future. The next day, the 9th of May, the 
solitary pirogue or flatboat had passed several Indian villages, and 
had come in view of the towns of Running Water and Nickajack, 
the last Cherokee towns where there was any considerable body of 
Indians. 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 mountain passes, on the 



4 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

wide bosom of a noble river, where they would be comparatively 
free from the ambuscades of lurking savages. 

Suddenly four canoes, with white flags raised, and naked savages 
kneeling in them as rowel's, glided out into the river, and rapidly 
approached ; fearing some mischief, Brown immediately turned his 
cannon upon the approaching canoes, and with 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 the 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. He spoke to Brown, and 
said that his party came in friendship ; as an evidence of that they 
had raised a white flag ; they came as his friends to trade with him. 
Brown, who was a*bold and fearless man, and dared to face a thou- 
sand savages, still kept them off; but at last, confiding in the assu- 
rances of Vaun that he was a white man, and that the Indians would 
respect the persons and property of his party, in an unguarded mo- 
ment he consented that several of the Indians might come on board. 
A dozen Indians now came on board, and lashed their canoes to the 
side of the boat. As they came near the town, hundreds dashed out 
into the river in their canoes, and came alongside of the boat. Having 
thus secured possession, the leading men, especially Vann, assured 
Brown that no harm was intended. In the mean time, each Indian 
seized upon whatever he fancied and threw it into his canoe. In this 
way several boxes and trunks were instantly rifled. Vann pretended 
to order his followers to abstain, but they paid no attention to him. 
A bold warrior now demanded of Brown the key to a large chest, 
that contained his most valuable stores, which he refused to give, 
telling the Indian that Mrs. Brown had it. The Indian demanded it 
of Mrs. Brown, but she boldly refused to give it up. He then split 
the top of the chest open with his tomahawk, and his example was 
immediately followed by the other Indians, who broke open and rifled 
every box and package on the boat. While this was going on, a 
savage rudely took hold of Joseph Brown, a lad fifteen years old, 
but was forced by the father to let the boy go. An instant after, 



JANE BROWN. 85 

the Indian seized a sword lying in the boat, and while 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 into the river, 
where he sank to rise 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 several hundred warriors, wo- 
men and children. In the mean time, Vann continued to tell the 
sons of Brown that all this was a violation of the treaty of Hopewell, 
and that Breath, the chief of Nickajack and Running Water, who 
was expected there that night, would punish the marauders, restore 
their goods, and send them on their voyage. Several leading war- 
riors of the upper town had seized Brown's negroes as lawful spoil, 
and had dispatched them in canoes to their several homes. What- 
ever may have been Vann's true motives, his interference on this 
occasion had the effect to place the whole party at the mercy of the 
Indians, without 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 conduct exhibits the climax of perfidy. 

A party of Creek braves, who were engaged with the men of 
Nickajack and Running Water in this outrage, having seized upon 
their share of the plunder, and having taken possession of Mrs. 
Brown, her son George, ten years old, and three small daughters, 
immediately began their march to their own nation. While the 
Cherokees were deliberating upon the fate of the prisoners and- a 
division of the spoils, they adroitly withdrew from the council, on the 
plea that this all 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 led 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 Tunbridge, married to a white wo- 
man, who had been taken prisoner near Mobile, when an infant, and 



86 PIONEER WOMEN OE THE WEST. 

raised by the Indians. After she was grown, she was exchanged, 
but refused to leave the Indians, distrusting her ability to adapt 
her habits to civilized life. She had been married to an Indian 
brave, by whom she had a son, now twenty-two 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 
and courage 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 his captor. This woman's son, whose name was Kiachat- 
alee, was one of the leaders of the marauding party who had seized 
upon Brown's boat, and from the first knew the fate of the party. 
Before the boat landed, he tried to induce Joseph to get into his 
canoe, with the intention "of withdrawing him from the general mas- 
sacre 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 English told the boy 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 elder bro- 
thers. 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 murdering kis brothers and friends. 
What were the feelings of the poor boy at this moment ! His father 
slain ; his brothers and friends weltering in their blood, amidst the 
yells of savage assassins ; and his mother, brother and sisters borne 
off, he knew not whither, by a band of lawless Creek marauders ! 
To add to his agony at such a moment, an aged Indian woman, 
with hair disheveled, and her round, fat face discolored with excite- 
ment, followed them to the trader's house, calling upon Tunbridge 
to produce the white man; exclaiming, with a fiendish air of triumph, 
" All the rest are killed, and he must die also !" 



JANE EEOWX. 87 

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, saying 
that he was too large, that he would 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 Kiachatalee, his son, and if he was injured or slam, Kia- 
chatalee 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 toma- 
hawk, and, with the air of a man who intends a deed of murder, 
demanded of the trader, " And are you the friend of the Virginian ?" 

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 lad's face, in order to enjoy his terror. 

In the path which led from the house, the boy fell upon his knees, 



88 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

while the savages were tearing off his clothes, and asked the trader 
to request the Indians to give him one half hour to pray. The 
trader roughly replied, " Boy, it's not worth while ; they'll kill you." 
As he 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 into the mountains, where the birds and wolves might 
eat up his flesh j 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 him down 
to Running Water, saying to the trader's wife, " We will not spill 
this boy's blood near your house ; but we will take him to 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 victim. He 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 he 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 aspect 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-tey 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 bis 
prisoners, and that his fear lest Kiatchatalee might retaliate by kil- 
ling his negro prisoners, was the thought which suddenly turned 
him to mercy and pity. So thought his own followers ; for when 
he said he loved the boy, and would not kill him, his savage follow- 
ers replied : 

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

When Cutty-a-toy's mother saw that the boy's life would not be 
taken, she seeined displeased ; went up to him and cut off his scalp- 



JANE BROWN. 89" 

lock, and kicked him so rudely in the side as almost to kill him, 
exclaiming, u I've got the Virginian's scalp." 

The Tuskegee chief, Cutty-a-toy, led his party away, leaving 
Joseph in the hands of the trader and his wife. In two or three 
days he was taken into Nickajack, and the kind old chief, Breath, 
who greatly regretted what had taken place in his absence, took 
him by the hand, calmly heard a narrative of his situation from the 
trader's wife, 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 which 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 Kiatchatalee was his brother. His head 
was 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 trowsers, and a short 
shirt for a coat, shirt, and vest, his nether vestments consisting of a 
pair of deer-skin moccasins. In this condition he was pronounced 
an Indian, with the exception of a slit in each ear, which the kind- 
ness of the chief deferred making until cold weather. 

The trader's wife took him to see his two sisters, Jane, aged ten, 
and Polly, aged five years, who had just been brought back to 
Nickajack ; a party of Cherokees having pursued the Creek braves, 
and recaptured 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 brother George, and sister Elizabeth. The 
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 
the little captives, such as carrying water and wood, pounding 
hominy, and working corn in the fields, and on the part of the boy, 
looking after the stock, nearly a year passed, 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 the children, but none brought deliver- 



90 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ance for them. Yet in but few instances did the savage neighbors 
of these captive children treat them unkindly. Three or four times 
Joseph's life was in danger from lawless braves, whose bloodthirsty 
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 that it should be lawful for him to slay any 
Indian who should maltreat him. 

In a few months Joseph was allowed a rifle and a horse, and per- 
mitted to go into the woods to hunt. He might often have availed 
himself of the kindness of 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, lest his escape might add to the 
rigors of their slavery, or perhaps for ever prevent their deliverance. 

In the meantime open war had been going on between the 
Indians and the people of Cumberland and East Tennessee. Two 
thousand warriors, principally Cherokees, of whom four or five hun- 
dred were horsemen dressed as white men, made an irruption into 
East Tennessee, killing everything before tliem. Generals Sevier 
and Martin, with a large body of pioneers, had marched into their 
territory, laying waste their fields and villages. When their chief, 
Big Tassel, came to Sevier's camp with a flag to hold a talk, he was 
killed by a soldier named Kirk, whose family had been murdered 
by his warriors. This outrage added new flames to the rage of the 
Cherokees, who no longer sought peace. In their revengeful foray, 
they stormed Fort Gillespie, eight miles from Knoxville, and 
butchered men, women and children, carrying off Mrs. Glass, the 
sister of Capt. Gillespie. 

These savages were not 'wholly illiterate: many of their leaders 
could speak and even write English, and they well understood the 
sacred character of a white flag and of treaties. The following pro- 
clamation, written at Fort Gillespie after the massacre, by Watts, or 
some of his half-breed followers, is curious and illustrative. It is 
signed by Bloody Fellow, Categisky, John Watts, and The Glass. 



JANE BEOWN. 91 

Oct. 15th,* 1798. 

To Mr. JOHN SEVIER and JOSEPH MARTIN, and to You, the 
Inhabitants of the New State. 

" "We would wish to inform you of the accidents that happened 
ut Gillespie's Fort, concerning the women and children that were 
killed in the battle. 

" The Bloody Fellow's talk is, that he is now here upon his own 
ground. He is not like you are, for you kill women and children 
and he does not. He had orders to do it, and to order them off 
the land, and he came and ordered them to surrender, and they 
should not be hurt, and they would not. And he stormed it and 
took it. 

" For you, you beguiled the head man (Big Tassel), who was your 
friend, and wanted to keep peace. 

u But you began it, and this is what you get for it. When you 
move off the land, then he will make peace, and give up the women 
and children. 

"And you must march off in thirty days. 

" Five thousand is our number !" 

In the spring of 1789, an exchange of prisoners was agreed upon 
at a talk held with Gen. Sevier. It was agreed that the Cherokees 
should make an absolute surrender of all .the white persons 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 
return until Mrs. Glass and all the other prisoners had gone up to 
Running Water, where the chief was awaiting their arrival. 

When young Brown got home, he was sent with one of his 
sisters to Running Water, in order to he 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 mother's 

* Hay wood gives the date of the taking of the fort as the 10th September, 
but in his appendix the i/5th. 



92 PIOHfi&B WOMEN OF THE WEST 

heart if she left her. This tender feeling was a tribute to savage 
kindness, but young Brown finally took his sister in his arms, and 
carried her some distance, 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. Joseph 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. To this the chief 
replied, " Little John (meaning Sevier) would have it so ; he is a 
very mean man a dog ; but he has my daughter a prisoner, 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. He then stated that one of his sisters was 
left in Nickajack,. and that he never would consent to be set at 
liberty without her. The savage chief immediately sent for the girl, 
and after some delay, Col.. Bench, the chief of the mounted regiment 
of Indians, went himself, and brought the girl to Running Water. 
Tims, about the first of May, 1*789, 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 was in 
Cumberland, could go after them, or until their mother should b<* 
released from -her captivity amongst the Creeks. 

We must now return to the 9th of May, 1788, and continue the 
narrative of Mrs. Brown's captivity. Having seen her husband fall 
by the hands of 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 murdered her sons and 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 situa- 
tion, she soon saw two of her sweet little daughters torn from her 



JANE BKOWN. 93 

side by a party of Chevokees, and borne back, she knew not 
whither, nor for what end ! 

Driven forward on foot for many days and nights, she continued 
to bear np under the bodily fatigues and mental anguish by which 
she was tortured, her feet blistered and swollen, and driven before 
the pack-horses along a flinty path, every moment expecting death 
if she failed, and every moment expecting to fail ! She yet accom- 
plished many days' travel, and finally reached one of the upper 
Creek towns on the Tallapoosa, far down in the wilderness. Arrived 
at the town of her captor, she found herself a slave, doomed to bear 
wood and water, pound hominy, and do all servile offices for her 
savage mistress. To add to her distress, her son, nine years old, 
and her daughter, seven, were taken to different towns, and she was 
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 assumed the title of Commander-in-chief of 
the Upper and Lower Creeks and the Seminoles; being the military 
as well as the civil governor of all the Indians of Florida, Alabama, 
and Lower Georgia. He was a man of keen sagacity, forest-born 
and forest-bred, combining the shrewdness 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 imposed upon her, 
excited the sympathy and compassion of this kind-hearted Indian 
woman. Several weeks passed before she found an opportunity, but 
when Mrs. Brown's savage master was absent, the wife of Durant 
spoke to her kindly, told her that she pitied her sorrow, and would, 
if she could, relieve her. She said her brother, the chief of the 
Creeks, did not approve of his people's making slaves of the white 
women, and that he was a liberal, high-minded man, who had a 
soul of honor, and would never turn away from a helpless woman 
who came to him for succor. " Why do you not fly to him !" 
asked the simple-hearted woman. 



94 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Mi's. Brown explained to her her total ignorance of the country, 
and her inability to reach the residence of Col. McGillevray. 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 weir 
come to them ; but you must take them. I cannot give them, but 
my husband shall never pursue. You can take them without 
danger." It was arranged. On a certain morning the Indian 
woman sent an aged Indian, who was to act as the guide of Mrs. 
Brown, as far as a trader's house ; from which 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 in pursuit of her Indian guide, who tra- 
velled on as though 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 grati- 
tude for intended kindness, she yet approached 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 everything 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. 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. For- 
tunately for her, the chieftain was at home, and himself met her 
pursuer. The Indian gruffly demanded of his chieftain the white 
woman, his prisoner. 

Col. McGillevray at once informed him that she was in hia 



JANE EKOWN. 95 

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, replied, " That is true. She is your prisoner, and you can 
kill her, i'f 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 warrior ; " 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 rifle, 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 McGille- 
vray ; a noble instance of chivalry on the part of a savage chieftain^ 
which reflects more honor on his name than the glory of a hundred 
battles fought by his people during his chieftaincy. For several 
months she plied her needle in his lodge, and by her experience in 
the craft of needle-woik soon rendered herself useful to her Indian 
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, gene- 
rously 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 from him on any terms. But he assured her he 
would not fail, as soon as possible, to ransom- her son, and restore 
him also to her arms. 



06 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

In November, 1789, Col. McGillevray had appointed 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 chil- 
dren. 

Thus, in November, 1789, after eighteen months' captivity, she 
was at last united with her surviving children. They spent a short 
time in South Carolina with some relatives, and returned to Guilford, 
N. C., at last restored to her friends, whom she had left but two 
short years before. But what a change had* taken place in her 
destiny since she had started westward with her husband, sons, and 
neighbors, so full of life and hope ! All her captive children were 
now restored to her, except George, who was in one of the upper 
Creek villages, doomed to a still longer captivity. 

Mrs. Brown had two sons who were in the Cumberland Valley 
on the 9th of May, 1788 ; William the surveyor, and Daniel, aged 
twelve years, who went over the land route with some stock, to the 
Cumberland Valley. During her short stay in Guilford-, her bene- 
factor, the Creek chieftain, passed through Guilford Court House, 
and sent word to Mrs. Brown that he was there. She immediately 
went with her brother, Col. Gillespie, Rev. Dr. Caldwell, and her 
son William, and thanked him with them. In addition, her brother 
offered to pay Col. McGillevray any sum he might think proper to 
demand, as the ransom of Mrs. Brown and her daughter, but the 
generous Creek refused any compensation whatever. He said he 
owed it to humanity and honor to do as he had done, and that to 
receive pay for it would deprive him both of the real pleasure and 
real honor of such a deed. He assured Mrs. Brown he would not 
fail to use his best efforts to restore her son, and she might rely 
upon his finding out some 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 
jiusband had prepared for her and her children, and to which he 



JANE BEOWN. 97 

was so boldly conducting them when he perished. And now at 
last, in 1791, this devoted woman and all her surviving children 
but one, found 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 Shawanees 
invaded Cumberland Valley, attacked Buchanan's Station, and were 
repulsed with great loss. 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 attended a treaty at Tellico, in East Tennessee, where 
he met a nephew of Kiachatalee, 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 Buchanan's Station, 
and also the story of Kiachatalee's heroic death. He said the 
assault was led by Kiachatalee ; that he attempted to set fire to 
the block-house, and was actually blowing it into a flame, when he 
was mortally wounded. He continued, after receiving his mortal 
wound, to blow the fire, and to cheer his followers to the assault, 
calling upon them to fight like brave men ( . and never give up till 
they had taken the fort.* 

There were many incidents of frontier life, such as Mrs. Brown's 
was now, which would be interesting to the present generation, but 
the length of this sketch will necessarily exclude many of them. On 
one occasion, her eldest son, William, while in pursuit of a party of 

* For the incidents connected with the attack on Buchanans Station, see 
Women of the American Revolution, vol. iii., Memoir of SARAH BUCHANAN, 
which should be read in connection with the Tennessee Sketches in this 
volume. In it the Shawanee chief is represented as performing the heroic 
part really performed by Kiachatalee. 

5 



98 PIONEER AVOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Indians near Nashville, was severely wounded in the arm, so that 
almost every member of her family had been captured, wounded, or 
slain by the hands of the Indians. These were trials 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 
watched over her and guided her footsteps aright, in the midst of 
so many sorrows. 

In the year 1794, such had been the continued outrages of the 
savages from the lower Cherokee towns, in conjunction with maraud- 
ing Creeks and Shawanees, upon the Cumberland settlements, that 
the principal pioneers resolved to fit out an expedition at their own 
expense, march to Nickajack and Running Water, and punish those 
lawless people with fire and sword. The national administration 
had, by its Commissioners, made treaty after treaty with the Chero- 
kees, but still the people of these lower towns continued their depre- 
dations, against the wishes of the upper Cherokees ; and it was im- 
possible to induce the national government to take the decided steps 
which these bold pioneers knew were so 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 white man had never trod. They felt se- 
cure from all aggression, and reposed in full confidence that whoever 
might suffer on account of their incursions into Cumberland, their 
towns were unapproachable. 

At this time Joseph Brown was living near Nashville with his 
mother, and had recently gone with Gen. Robertson to attend an 
Indian council at Tellico block-house. The intimate knowledge 
young Brown had obtained of these lower towns and their people 
by his residence there, enabled him to communicate a good idea of 
the country and the people from whom the Cumberland settlements 
had so long suffered. The death of Kiachatalee at Buchanan's Sta- 
tion, on the 30th September, 1792, his warlike character, so well 
known to Brown, and his leadership as a warrior among the men 
of Nickajack and Running Water, all pointed out these towns as 
the hives from which came forth such swarms of marauding Indians. 



JANE BROWN. 99 

Despairing of succor from the national government, Gen. Robert- 
son wrote to Col. Whitley, of Kentucky, who was a well-known par- 
tisan, to be at Nashville about the 1st September, 1794, with as 
many trusty riflemen as he could bring with him. About the same 
time Col. Mansco, Gen. Johnson of Robertson, Col. Montgomery 
of Clarksville, and Gen. Robertson, each quietly raised a few trusty 
men. Maj. Ore at that time 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 Gen. Robert- 
son, Maj. Ore arrived at Buchanan's Station just in time to join the 
expedition. 

In the meantime, boats were made of hides, and tried in the 
Cumberland river, to ascertain their capability of transporting the 
tiv/ops across the Tennessee. These boats were made each of two 
raw hides, as large 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 moments be fully equipped and launched. 

All the parties being assembled, it was ascertained that there 
were about six hundred, including Maj. Ore's Rangers. As all but 
his command were volunteers, who came out without any autLj/.iy, 
it was resolved to give Ore the nominal command of the whole 
party, which 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. Col. Whitley and Col. Mansco were, 
however, the prime movers of the campaign, and had most of the 
responsibility of its conduct. With the troops were more than a 
dozen leading partisan officers, w'ho had been distinguished in many 
an Indian battle. 

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

The troops made a forced march, reached the Tennessee river just 



100 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

after dark on the fourth day, and in thirty minutes had their raw- 
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 conveyed in the boats, and on 
rafts rudely constructed of bundles of canes. In order to guide the 
swimmers, a very 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 be- 
cause they could not swim, and others because they were subject to 
the cramp ; while 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 armful of dry canes together, 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 
Nickajack, and yet they were undiscovered. Leaving 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 warriors, they 
were so completely surprised that they made little resistance ; but 
flying precipitately, took to their canoes, and attempted to cross the 
river. Some fled to Running Water, and others secreted thomselves 
in the thickets. The whole town ran with blood. About seventy 
warriors were slain, and a large number of women and children were 
taken prisoners. Young Brown carried the lower end of the town 
manfully, killing several warriors, and talcing some prisoners. In 



JANE BROWN. 101 

one instance, he killed an Indian warrior in single combat, and car- 
ried 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 
Americans, one of them, Joshua Thomas, mortally. Running Water 
was also taken, and both towns immediately reduced to ashes. 
Among the dead, Brown recognized the body of Breath, the ge- 
nerous chief who had adopted him into his family when he was a 
prisoner. In the towns, many articles of stolen property, which 
were recognized as belonging to men who had been killed in Cum- 
berland Valley, were found. In addition to these, fresh scalps were 
found in Nickajack, as well as a number of letters, taken by the In- 
dians from the mail-bags, after having killed the rider. They also 
found a quantity of powder and lead, recently sent by the Spanish 
government to these Indians. 

Never was a visitation of this kind so justly merited as it was by 
these towns. They were the principal crossing-places for the war- 
parties of Creeks, Shawnees, and Cherokees, who went to harass the 
Cumberland and Kentucky settlements. But two days before their 
destruction, a war dance was held there, at which were several Chero- 
kee chiefs, as well as Creeks, who had resolved to wage a still more 
relentless war on the frontiers. 

While Brown could not but feel that the hand of Providence had 
signally punished these towns for their outrage on his family, 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 recognized young Brown, and alarmed for their 
safety, pleaded with him to save their lives, saying that his life had 
once been spared by them. He 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 



102 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

concluded, and never again violated. Soon after this affair, young 
George Brown was liberated by the Creeks. Joseph returned home 
and lived some years with his mother. He was devoted to business, 
and of most exemplary conduct in every relation of life. He soon 
attached himself to Rev. Thomas B. Craighead's congregation, near 
Hayesboro', and was made an elder in the church. 

For several years, he and his mother and brothers memorialized 
the Congress of the United States to reimburse them for the goods 
and slaves taken from them in violation of the treaty of Hopewell. 
But their claims were still unregarded, and still delayed, year after 
year. In 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, a large number of Cherokee 
Indians offered their services to Gen. Jackson against their red 
brethren. Gen. 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 Indians. This he 
promptly. agreed to do, and started to join the army for that pur- 
pose. He however, never took charge of the Indians, but served 
with the army, as aid to Gen. Robards, as well as interpreter and 
guide. 

He was thus a participant in the battle of Talladega, and had 
the honor of leading and conducting a charge upon the most hotly 
contested part of the Indian lines. During this campaign Brown 
again met Charles Butler, the nephew of Kiachatalee, and learned 
from him that the old Tuskegee chief, Cutty-a-toy, was still alive. 
He learned also that he was then living on an island in the Tennes- 
see river, near the mouth of Elle river, and that he had with hi in 
several negroes, the descendants of the woman taken by him at 
Nickajack, on the 9th of May, 1788. 

Col. Brown had at that time a claim before Congress for the 



JANE BROWN. 103 

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

With ten picked men, Brown proceeded to the island, went to 
the head man's lodge, exhibited to him Gen. Jackson's order, and 
demanded that Cutty-a-toy's slaves should be immediately sent over 
to Fort Hampton, to be valued, in pursuance of said order. The 
head man sent for Cutty-a-toy, and it was immediately agreed that 
all would go to the fort the next morning. % 

The next morning, the negroes, Cutty-a-toy, his wife, and some 
friends, went with Col. Brown to the Fort. In crossing the river 
Brown and his men took up the negroes and Cutty-a-toy's wife 
behind them, to carry 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, while he turned into the fort 
with Cutty-a-toy's wife, to await the arrival of the Indians. He im- 
mediately called on the commandant of the fort, Col. Williams, 
stated the history of the case, the order of Gen. Jackson, the failure 
of Congress to pay for the slaves, and the fact that they 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 ; u 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 Col. Brown made known to him that he 
had sent the negroes off, but was willing for the commissioners to 



104: PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

proceed to value them. The Indian became enraged. At last, in 
the midst of the garrison, officers and men, and the Indians, CoL 
Brown gave a brief narrative of the 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 on the life of Col. Brown himself, the^n 
a boy at the house of the French trader ; of his being saved at 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 Col. Brown, 
u nearly twenty-five years, and yet during all that time you have had 
the negro 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 
comforts 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 
witn me as you please.' 7 

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

" No, no, Cutty-a-toy," he proceeded, " 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 ven- 
geance is his, and I will leave you to answer to him for your crimes ! 
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 



JANE BROWN. 105 

take the rest, including 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 Gen. Jackson became 
President, Col. Brown finally obtained an allowance from Congress 
for a part of the property lost by his father in 1788. In 1810, he 
became a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and in 
1823, a regular ordained minister of that Church. 

Having lived to the advanced age of ninety, and never having re- 
married, but always making her home with her son Joseph, Mrs. 
Brown left this world of vexation and sorrow, for such it had been 
to her, at her son's residence in Maury County, Tennessee. Hers was 
a most eventful life, full of trials almost beyond human endurance ; 
yet she did not murmur, but tried to see in all her afflictions the 
kind guidance of a wise Providence. 

George, soon after his release from captivity, emigrated to the 
South, and after nearly fifty years* honorable citizenship near Wood- 
ville, Mississippi, died in the bosom of his family. The captive 
daughter, Jane, whose release was due to the manly courage of her 
youthful brother, was married to a Mr. Collingsworth, and became 
with him a citizen of Texas as early as 1819, where her children yet 
reside. 

The history possesses all the attractions of a romance ; yet it is 
but a plain sad story of trials and sufferings incident to the period 
and to border life. The only survivor of that pioneer family 
is the Rev. Joseph Brown, of Maury County, better known as Col. 
Brown. From notes and memoranda furnished by him, the princi- 
pal details of this narrative have been written. It cannot fail to be 
useful to the future historian of Tennessee, yet Haywood, in his 
history of five hundred pages, only makes the following allusion 
to the facts contained in this narrative. Speaking of the treaty of 
peace made at Tellico, October 20, 1.795, between the people of 
Tennessee, and the Creeks and Cherokees, they (the Creeks,) says the 
historian, " at this time delivered up Brown, son of Mrs. Brown, 
5* 



106 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

formerly a prisoner in the Creek nation." 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 the " obloquy which both history and tradition 
have thrown upon the characters of the Creek and Cherokee war- 
riors, 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. Keplete 
with incidents and heroic deeds which might challenge the admi- 
ration of the world, yet all that has been written by Haywood and 
others would scarcely serve as a thread to guide the future historian 
through the labyrinth of events which crowded upon the infant 
colonies of the Holston and the Cumberland, 



In 1792 the family of Joseph Wilson, who was a pioneer in the 
Cumberland Valley, from Carolina, was living at Zeigler's Station in 
what is now Sumner County, Tennessee. This station was neat 
Cumberland River, a few miles from Bledsoe's Lick, but being 
nearer the frontier, was more exposed to the incursions of the Indians. 
It was only a small picketted fort, with a blockhouse, and con- 
tained but thirteen men, including a son of Wilson, not yet grown. 
Near the fort was a small farm which was cultivated by the inmates 
of the station. In the afternoon of the 26th of June, 1792, a large 
party, of Creek Indians assaulted the station, but after a severe con- 
test in which several of the defenders were killed and wounded, the 
savages were repulsed. There being no surgeon in the party, a 
messenger was despatched to a neighboring station for a physician 
to attend the wounded, and for aid to repel any new assault which 
mi^ht be made.* Before either surgeon or aid arrived, however, the 
Indians renewed the assault, and night coming on, they succeeded 
in setting fire to the buildings, which spread with such rapidity, that 
the assailed were compelled to decide between instant destruction by 



SARAH WILSON. 107 

the flames and a cruel and lingering death by the hands of the sav- 
ages. Five of the defenders were already slain, and four others 
wounded. In this moment of extreme peril, Mrs. Wilson urged her 
husband to attempt to break through the lines of the savages, and 
make his escape. It was probable they would spare her life, and 
those of her young children, but for him death was certain, unless 
he could make his escape by a sudden sortie from the blockhouse. 
Wilson hesitated, and feeling the horror of his situation, seemed to 
prefer death with his family, to leaving his wife and children to the 
cruelty of the foe ; but his heroic wife urged him for her sake to 
leave her, saying that she would be safer in the hands of the Indians 
without him than with him. The same appeal was made to another 
man who was unhurt, but he refused to leave the fort. But a few 
minutes remained ; the liames were sweeping over the roof of the 
block-house, and the assailants stood around with rifles and their 
hatchets to strike down any one who attempted to escape. In this 
dreadful moment Wilson yielded to his wife's entreaties, bade his son, 
a lad fifteen or sixteen years of age follow, and dashing boldly out of 
the flaming building, was followed by his son. Several shots were 
instantly fired, one of which took effect in Wilson's foot, but father 
and son passed beyond the lines of the assailants, pursued by yelling 
savages as they fled. Becoming sick from the loss of blood, Wil- 
son secreted himself in a clump of bushes in the field, while his 
son went on to obtain a horse from a neighboring field. As he lay 
thus concealed some pursuing savages passed within a few feet of his 
hiding-place, but fortunately missed him. The lurid flames of the 
burning block -house, meanwhile, revealed, as he thought, the fate of 
his wife and children. 

As soon as her son and husband had disappeared, Mrs. Wilson, 
with an infant in her arms, and followed by five small children, the 
eldest a lovely girl about ten years old, walked slowly out of the 
block-house, expecting each instant to receive the fatal blow ; but 
yielding to a generous impulse aiid perhaps not unwilling to obtain 
captives, who might be made slaves, the Indian warriors spared her 
life, and made her and her children prisoners. All the rest of the 



108 PIONEEE WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

inmates of the fort were killed or burned, except the man who had 
been dispatched for succor and a surgeon, both of which failed to 
arrive till the station was in ashes, and the assailants had retreated 
towards their nation with their prisoners. Capt. Alfred Wilson, a 
relation of Joseph Wilson, came with a party of friends to the help 
of the besieged, but came only in time to discover the blackened 
and charred bones of those who were burned. 

In the meantime, young Wilson obtained horses, returned to the 
place of his father's concealment, and after having with difficulty 
placed him on one of the horses, conveyed him to Bledsoe's Station. 
A party of the soldiers hastily assembled, pursued, but did not over- 
take the retreating savages, and thus Mrs. Wilson and her children 
were carried, as captives, into the White Grounds, in the Upper 
Creek Nation. 

In a few weeks Gov. Blount arrived at Nashville, and called into 
service three hundred men, in order to defend the frontiers, but the 
many women and children who were captives in the Creek Towns 
were left to languish in a barbarous country. 

Mrs. Wilson was the sister of Col. White of Knoxville, and 
through his interposition, after more than twelve months' captivity, 
was, with all her children (except her eldest daughter,) restored to 
her home. Few persons can now imagine the painful suspense in 
which Wilson and his wife spent that year of separation. An aged 
pioneer matron,* who resided near Bledsoe's Lick during this period, 
has said that Wilson seemed to her to have been the most unhappy 
man in the world, during the year of his wife's captivity. 

Although the family was now again restored to a happy reunion, 
yet their home circle lacked one bright-eyed prattler, yet in slavery 
and exile among her savage captors. It was not until after the 
destruction of Nickajack and Kunning Water, that young Sally 
Wilson was restored to the arms of her parents. And then how 
changed ! During her captivity, she had forgotten her own lan- 
guage and her people, and for several months sighed for her forest 
home! But soon regaining her language, with it came also the 

* Mrs. Shelby. 



SARAH WILSON. 109 

remembrance of home and friends, and the home circle was again 
complete. 

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson lived many years after this terrible expe- 
rience of pioneer life, and reared their children to usefulness and 
honor. Many of their descendants yet reside in Tennessee, while 
not a few, seeking a better home in the far West, have adventured, 
like their sires, into the deep solitudes of the wilderness, where 
they too may yet experience some of the dark trials of their 
ancestors. 



VI 

MARY MOORE. 

BEFORE proceeding to sketches illustrating a later period, it will be 
proper to take a view of the early condition of that portion of Vir- 
ginia, which, lying on the sunset side of the great range of moun- 
tains, belonged to the West. De Hass, in his History of the Indian 
Wars of Western Virginia, says that before 1749, the country was 
untrodden by foot of white man, except occasional traders who may 
have ventured on the heads of some of the tributary streams rising 
in the Alleghany mountains. It is said that in this year a lunatic 
wandered into the wilderness of the Greenbriar country, and on 
returning home, told his friends he had discovered livers flowing in 
a westward direction. His report induced two pioneers to enter the 
mountain wild, where they were found in 1751 by the agent for 
the Greenbriar company. Further attempts to colonize the country 
were not made for some years. The first permanent settlements by 
Zane and Tomlinson, were at or near Wheeling ; hardy emigrants 
followed, and pushed into the fine regions along the Upper Monon- 
gahela. When it became known that outposts were established on 
the confines of civilization, hundreds pressed forward to join the 
adventurous settlers, and secure homes in the forest domain. 

" The escape of Mrs. Denis, who had been taken captive in the 



MRS. DENIS. Ill 

James river settlement, in 1761, presents a parallel to narratives of 
female captives in the early history of the settlement of New 
England. Her husband having been slain, after being taken 
captive, the Indians took her over the mountains and through the 
forests to the Chilicothe towns north of the Ohio. There she 
seemed to conform to their ways, painted and dressed herself, and 
lived as a squaw. Added to this, she gained fame by attending to 
the sick, both as a nurse and a physician ; and became so celebrated 
for her cures, as to obtain from that superstitious people the reputa- 
tion of being a necromancer, and the honor paid to a person 
supposed to have power with the Great Spirit. 

" In 1763 she left them, under the pretext of obtaining medicinal 
herbs, as she had often done before. Not returning at night, her 
object was suspected, and she was pursued. To avoid leaving 
traces of her path, she crossed the Scioto three times, and was 
making her fourth crossing forty miles below the towns, when she 
was discovered, and fired upon without effect. But in the speed of 
her flight, she wounded her foot with a sharp stone, so as to be 
unable to proceed. The Indians had crossed the river, and were 
just behind her. She eluded their pursuit by hiding in a hollow 
sycamore log. They frequently stepped on the log that concealed 
her, and encamped near it for the night. Next morning they pro- 
ceeded in their pursuit of her; and she started in another direction 
as fast as her lameness would permit, but was obliged to remain 
near that place three days. She then set off for the Ohio, over 
which she rafted herself at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, on a 
drift log ; travelling only by night through fear of discovery, and 
subsisting only on roots, wild fruits, and the river shell-fish. She 
reached the Green Briar, having passed forests, rivers, and moun- 
tains, for more than three hundred miles. Here she sank down 
exhausted, and resigned herself to die, when providentially she was 
discovered by some of the people of that settlement, and hospitably 
treated at one of their habitations."* 

The settlement was made to suffer severely for this hospitable act. 

* Flint Indian Wars of the West. 



112 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

" A party of fifty or sixty Shawanese, coming under the garb of 
friendship, suddenly fell upon the men, butchering every one of 
them, and made captives of the women and children. They next 
visited the Levels, where Archibald Clendenin had erected a rude 
block-house, and where were gathered quite a number of families 
and were here again entertained with hospitality. Mr. Clendenin 
had just brought in three fine elk, upon which the savages feasted 
sumptuously. One of the inmates was a decrepid old woman, 
with an ulcerated limb ; she undressed the member, and asked the 
Indian if he could cure it. 4 Yes,' he replied ; and immediately 
sunk his tomahawk into her head. This was the signal, and in- 
stantly 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 circumstances to the settlement 
at Jackson's river. The people were loth to believe him, but were 
soon convinced, for the savages appeared, and many of the flying 
families were massacred without mercy. The prisoners were then 
marched off in the direction of the Ohio. Mrs. Clendenin proved 
herself in that trying moment a woman fit to be one of the mothers 
of the West. Indignant at the treachery and cowardly conduct of 
the wretches, she did not fail to abuse them from the chief down, in 
the most unmeasured manner. The savages, to intimidate her, 
would flap the bloody scalp of her dead husband against her face, 
and significantly twirl their tomahawks above her head, but still the 
courageous woman talked to them like one who felt her injuries and 
resolved to express the feeling. On the day after her captivity, she 
had an opportunity to escape, and giving her infant to a woman, 
slipped unobserved into a thicket. The child soon beginning to 
cry, one of the Indians inquired concerning the mother ; but getting 
no satisfactory reply, swore he would * bring the cow to the calf,' 
and taking the infant by the heels dashed out its brains against a 
tree. Mrs. Clendenin returned to her desolate home, and secured 
the remains of her husband from the rapacious jaws of the wild 
animals with which the woods abounded. It is stated that a black 
woman, in escaping from Clendenin's house, killed her own child to 



MES. CUNNINGHAM. 113 

prevent its cries attracting the attention of the savages. Such were 
some of the horrid realities endured by the first settlers of 'Western 
Virginia."* 

Early in 1778, an attack was made on a block-house in the 
country of the Upper Monongahela. The children allowed to play 
outside, discovered Indians, and running in, gave the alarm. " John 
Murphy stepped to the door, when one of the Indians, turning the 
corner of the house, fired at him. The ball took effect, and 
Murphy fell into the house. The Indian springing in, was grappled 
by Harbert, and thrown on the floor. A shot from without 
wounded Harbert, yet he continued to maintain his advantage 
over the prostrate savage, striking him as effectually as he could 
with his tomahawk, when another gun was fired from without, the 
ball passing through his head. His antagonist then slipped out at 
the door, badly wounded in the encounter. 

" Just after the first Indian entered, an active young warrior, 
holding a tomahawk with a long spike at the end, came in. 
Edward Cunningham instantly drew up his gun, but it flashed, and 
they closed in doubtful strife. Both were active and athletic ; each 
put forth his strength, and strained ^every nerve to gain the ascen- 
dency. For awhile the issue seemed doubtful. At length, by 
great exertion, Cunningham wrenched the tomahawk from the 
hand of the Indian, and buried the spike end to the handle in his 
back. Mrs. Cunningham closed the contest. Seeing her husband 
struggling with the savage, she struck at him with an axe. The 
edge wounding his face severely, he loosened his hold, and made 
his way out of the house. The third Indian who had entered 
before the door was closed, presented an appearance almost as 
frightful as the object he had in view. He wore a cap made of the 
unshorn front of a buffalo, with the ears and horn still attached, 
and hanging loosely about his head. On entering the room, this 
hideous monster aimed a blow with his tomahawk at Miss Reece, 
which inflicted a severe wound on her hand. The mother, seeing 
the uplifted weapon about to descend on her daughter, seized the 
* See De Hass for this and following anecdotes. 



114: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

monster by the horns; but his false head coming off, she did not 
succeed in changing the direction of the weapon. The father then 
caught hold of him ; but far inferior in strength, he was thrown on 
the floor, and would have been killed, but for the interference of 
Cunningham, who having cleared the house of one Indian, wheeled 
and struck his tomahawk into the head of the other. During all 
this time, the door was kept secure by the women. The Indians 
from without endeavored several times to force it, and would at one 
time have succeeded ; but just as it was yielding, the Indian who 
had been wounded by Cunningham and his wife, squeezed out, 
causing a momentary relaxation of their efforts, and enabled the 
women again to close it. 

" On the llth of April some Indians visited the house of William 
Morgan, on Dunker's bottom. They killed his mother and two or 
.three others, and took the wife and her child prisoners. On their 
way home, coming near Pricket's fort, they bound Mrs Morgan to a 
bush, and went in quest of a horse for her to ride, leaving the child 
with her. She succeeded in untying with her teeth the bands 
which confined her, and wandered all that day and part of the next, 
before she came within sight of the fort. Here she was kindly 
treated, and in a few days sent home." 

Early in March, 1781, a party of Indians came to the house of 
Capt. John Thomas, on one of the branches of the Monongahela. 
He was a pious man, and was engaged in family worship, surrounded 
by his wife and seven children, when the Indians approached his 
cabin. Anticipating no attack, he had not secured his house so well 
as was his custom, for the season had not advanced sufficiently to 
cause alarm. He had just repeated a line of the hymn 

" Go worship at ImmanuePs feet," 

when the savages fired ; the Christian father fell dead, and the mur- 
derers forcing the door, entered and commenced the work of de*ath. 
Mrs. Thomas implored their mercy, but the tomahawk did its work, 
till the mother and six children lay weltering in blood by the fcide 



MBS. SCOTT. 115 

of the slaughtered father. They then proceeded to scalp the fallen 
and plunder the house, and departed, taking with them one little 
boy, a prisoner. 

" Elizabeth Juggins, whose father had been murdered the preced- 
ing year in that neighborhood, was at the house when the Indians 
came ; but as soon as she heard the report of the gun and saw 
Capt. Thomas fall, she threw herself under the bed, and escaped the 
observation of the savages. After they had completed the work of 
blood and left the house, fearing that they might be lingering near, 
she remained in that concealment till the house was found to be on fire. 
When she crawled forth from her asylum, Mrs. Thomas was still 
alive, though unable to move, and casting a pitying glance towards 
her murdered infant, asked that it might be handed to her. On 
seeing Miss Juggins about to leave the house, she exclaimed * Oh 
Betsey, don't leave us !' Still anxious for her own safety, the girl 
rushed out* and taking refuge for the night between two logs, in the 
morning early spread the alarm. When the scene of these enormi- 
ties was visited, Mrs. Thomas was found in the yard, much mangled 
by the tomahawk and considerably torn by hogs ; she had perhaps, 
in the struggle of death, thrown herself out at the door. The house, 
with Capt. Thomas and the children, was a heap of ashes." 

On the 29th of June, 1785, the house of Mr. Scott, a citizen of 
Washington County, Virginia, was attacked, and he and four chil- 
dren butchered on the spot. He and the family had retired, except 
Mrs. Scott, who was undressing, when the painted savages rushed in 
and commenced the work of death. " Scott being awake, jumped 
up, but was immediately fired at ; he forced his way through the 
midst of the enemy and got out 'of the door, but fell ; an Indian 
seized Mrs. Scott, and ordered her not to move from a particular 
spot ; others stabbed and cut the throats of the three younger children 
in their bed, and afterwards lifting them up, dashed them upon 
the floor, near the mother. The eldest, a beautiful girl eight years 
old, sprang out of bed, ran to her parent, and in the most plaintive 
accents cried ' 0, mamma, mamma ! save me !' Tha mother, in the 
deepest anguish of spirit, and with a flood of tears, entreated the 



1J6 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

savages to spare her child ; but with brutal ferocity they toma- 
hawked and stabbed her in the mother's arms. Near Scott's dwell- 
ing lived another family of the name of Ball : the Indians attacked 
them at the same time ; the door being shut, they fired into the 
house through an opening between two logs, and killed a young- 
lad ; they then tried to force the door, but a surviving brother fired 
through and drove them off; the rest of the family ran out of the 
house and escaped. In Scott's house were four good rifles, well 
loaded, and a good deal of clothing and furniture, part of which 
belonged to people that had left it on their way to Kentucky. The 
Indians, thirteen in number, loaded themselves with the plunder, 
then speedily made off, and continued travelling all night. Next 
morning their chief allotted to each man his share, and detached nine 
of the party to steal horses from the inhabitants at Clinch river. 

" The eleventh day after Mrs. Scott's captivity, the four Indians who 
had her in charge stopped at a place of rendezvous to himt. Three 
went put, and the chief being an old man, was left to take care of 
the prisoner, who by this time expressed a willingness to proceed to 
the Indian towns, which seemed to have the desired effect of loosen- 
ing her keeper's vigilance. In the daytime, as the old man was 
graning a deer skin ? the captive, pondering on her situation, and 
anxiously looking for an opportunity to make her escape, took the 
resolution, and went to the Indian carelessly, asking liberty to go a 
small distance to a stream of water, to wash the blood off her apron, 
which had remained besmeared since the fatal night of the murder 
of her little daughter. He said in English ' Go along ;' she then 
passed by him, his face being in a contrary direction from that she 
was going, and he very busy. After getting to the water, she went 
on without delay towards a high, barren mountain, and travelled 
until late in the evening, when she came down into the valley in 
search of the track she had been taken along, hoping thereby to find 
the way back without the risk of being lost and perishing with 
hunger in uninhabited parts. That night she made herself a bed 
with lea*ves, and the next day resumed her wanderings. Thus did 
the poor woman continue, from day to day, and week to week, 



MKS. SCOTT. 117 

wandering in the trackless wilderness. Finally, on the eleventh of 
August, she reached a settlement on Clinch River known as New 
Garden. 

" Mrs. Scott related, that during her wanderings from the lOih 
of July to the llth of August, she had no other means of subsis- 
tence than chewing and swallowing the juice of young cane, sassafras, 
and some plants she did not know the name of; that on her jour- 
ney she saw buffaloes, elk, deer, and frequently bears and wolves, 
not one of which, although some passed very near, offered to do her 
the least harm. One day a bear came near her with a young fawn 
m his mouth, and on discovering her, dropped his prey and ran off. 
Hunger prompted her to try and eat the flesh, but on reflection, she 
desisted, thinking the bear might return and devour her ; besides, 
she had an aversion to raw meat. She long continued in a low 
state of health, and remained inconsolable for the loss of her family, 
particularly bewailing the cruel death of her little daughter." 

One of the most melancholy occurrences on Wheeling Creek was 
the murder of two sisters the Misses Crow. Three of them left 
their parents' house for an evening walk along the shaded banks of 
a beautiful stream the Dunkard, or lower fork of the Creek. 
u Their walk extended over a mile, and they were just turning back, 
when suddenly several Indians sprang from behind a ledge of rock, 
and seized all three of the sisters. They led the captives a short 
distance up a bank, when a halt was called, and a parley took place. 
It seems that some of the Indians were in favor of immediate 
slaughter, while others were disposed to carry them into permanent 
captivity. Unfortunately the arm of mercy was powerless. With- 
out a moment's warning, a fierce looking savage stepped from the 
group with elevated tomahawk, and commenced the work of death. 
This Indian, said the surviving sister, 4 began to tomahawk Susan ; 
she dodged her head to one side, the weapon taking effect in 
her neck, cutting the large neck vein ; the blood gushing out a yard's 
length. The Indian who had her by the hand jumped back to 
avoid the blood. The other Indian then began the work of death 
on my sister Mary. I gave a sudden jerk and got loose from the 



118 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

one that held me, ran with all speed and took up a steep bank, 
gaining the top safely. Just as I caught hold of a bush to help 
myself up, the Indian fired, and the ball passed through the clump 
of hair on my head, slightly breaking the skin ; the Indian taking 
round to meet me as I would strike the path that led homeward. 
But I ran right from home, and hid myself in the bushes near the 
top of the hill. Presently I saw an Indian passing along the hill 
below me ; I lay still until he was out of sight, and then made for 
home.'" This third sister was Christina, afterwards Mrs. John 
McBride, of Carlisle, Monroe County, Ohio. 

u Early on the morning of the 27th of March, 1789, two Indians 
appeared on the premises of Mr. Glass, residing a few miles back of 
the present town of Wellsburgh. Mrs. Glass was alone in the 
house, except an infant and a small black girl ; was engaged in 
spinning, and had sent her negro woman to the woods for sugar 
water. In a few moments she returned, screaming at the top of her 
voice, ' Indians ! Indians !' Mrs Glass jumped up, and running first 
to the window and then to the door, attempted to escape ; but an 
Indian met her and presented his gun ; she. caught hold of the 
muzzle, turned it aside, and begged him not to kill her. The other 
Indian in the meantime caught the negro woman and brought her 
into the house. They then opened a chest and took out a small 
box and some articles of clothing, and without doing any further 
damage, departed with their prisoners. After proceeding about a 
mile and a half, they halted and held a consultation, as she sup- 
posed, to kill the children ; this she understood to be the subject by 
their gestures. To one of the Indians who could speak English, 
she held out her little boy and begged him not to kill him, as he 
would make a fine chief after a while. The Indian made a motion 
for her to walk on with the child. The other Indian then struck 
the negro child with the pipe end of his tomahawk, which knocked 
it down, and then, by a blow with the edge across the back of the 
neck, despatched it. About four o'clock they reached the river, a 
mile above the creek, and carried a canoe which had been thrown 
up in some drift wood, into the river. They got into this canoe and 



MRS. GLASS. 119 

worked it down to the mouth of u sh run, about five miles ; pulled 
the canoe into the mouth of the stream as far as they could, and 
going up the" run about a mile, encamped for the night. The 
Indians gave the prisoners all their own clothes for covering, and 
one of them added his own blanket ; shortly before daylight the In- 
dians got up, and put another blanket over them. The black woman 
complained much on account of the loss of her child, and they 
threatened if she did not desist, to kill her. 

" About sunrise they commenced their march up a very steep hill 
and at two o'clock halted on Short creek, about twenty miles from 
the place whence they set out in the morning. The spot had been 
an encampment shortly before as well as a place of deposit for the 
plunder which they had recently taken from the house of Mr. Van- 
meter, whose family had been killed. The plunder was deposited 
in a sycamore tree. They had tapped some sugar trees when there 
before, and now kindled a fire and put on a brass kettle, with a 
turkey which they had killed on the way, to boil in sugar water. 

" Mr. Glass was working with a hired man in a field about a 
quarter of. a mile from the house, when his wife and family were 
taken, but knew nothing of the event till noon. After searching 
about the place, and going to several families in quest of his family, 
he went to Well's Fort, collected ten men, and that night lodged in 
a cabin, on the bottom on which the town of Wellsburg now 
stands. Next morning they discovered the place where the Indians 
had taken the canoe from the drift, and their tracks at the place of 
embarkation. Mr. Glass could distinguish the track of his wife by 
the print of the high heel of her shoe. They crossed the river and 
went down on the other side until they came near the mouth of 
Rush run ; but discovering no tracks of the Indians, most of tho 
men concluded they would go to the mouth of the Muskingum by 
svater, and therefore wished to turn back. Mr. Glass begged them 
to go as far as the mouth of Short Creek, which was only two or 
three miles ; and to this they agreed. When they got to the 
mouth of Rush run, they found the canoe of the Indians. This 
was identified by a proof which shows the presence of mind of Mrs. 



120 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Glass. "While passing "down the river, one of the Indians threw 
into the water several papers which he had taken out, of Mr. Glass's 
trunk ; some of these she carelessly picked up, and under pretence 
of giving them to the child dropped them into the bottom of the 
canoe. These left no doubt. The trail of the Indians and their 
prisoners up the run to their camp, and then up the river hill, was 
soon discovered. 

" About an hour after the Indians had halted, Glass and his men 
came in sight of their camp. The object then was to save the lives 
of the prisoners by attacking the Indians so unexpectedly as not to 
allow time to kill them. With this view they crept along till they 
got within one hundred yards of the camp. Fortunately, Mrs. 
Glass's little son had gone to a sugar tree, but not being able to get 
the water, his mother had stepped out to get it for him. The negro 
woman was sitting some distance from the two Indians, who were 
looking attentively at a scarlet jacket which they had taken some 
time before. On a sudden they dropped the jacket, and turned 
their eyes towards the men, who, supposing they were discovered, 
immediately discharged several guns and rushed upon them at full 
speed, with an Indian yell. One of the Indians, it was supposed, 
was wounded the first fire, as be fell and dropped his gun and shot 
pouch. After running about one hundred yards, a second shot was 
fired after him, which brought him to his hands and knees ; but 
there was no time for pursuit, as the Indians had informed Mrs. 
Glass that there was another encampment close by. The other 
Indian at the first fire, ran a short distance beyond Mrs. Glass, so 
that she was in a right line between him and the white men ; this 
artful manoeuvre no doubt saved his life, as his pursuers could not 
shoot at him without risking the life of the white woman." 

The party reached Beach Bottom fort that night. Mrs. Glass 
subsequently married a Mr. Brown, and was long a resident of 
Brooke County. 



MART MOOKE. 121 

" In the burying-ground of New Providence, in Rockbridge 
County, Virginia, there is a grave, surpassing in interest all sur- 
rounding graves. It is by the side of the resting-place of the 
pastor of the people who worshipped in the neighboring church. 
Its inhabitant once walked by his side a cherished one.* His 
deep blue, sunken eye, that flashed so fiercely in moments of indig- 
nation, always beamed sweetly into her full, jet-black orbs, that 
could do nothing but smile or weep. But those smiles and tears 
charmed equally the savages in the wilderness, and Christian people 
of Providence. 

" The maiden name of this woman was Mary Moore. The 
melancholy romance of her early days, and the Christian excellence 
of her mature and closing years, make her memory immortal. The 
history of the destruction of the retired dwelling of her father his 
murder, with that of two brothers and a sister on a fair summer's 
morning the captivity of her mother and herself, with a brother 
and two sisters, and a hired girl, the murder of the brother and one 
sister on the way to the wigwam homes of their captors the 
death by fire and torture of her mother and remaining sister the 
rescue of herself and the hired girl, together with a brother, the 
captive of a former year, and their return to their relatives in 
Virginia combines in one story all the events impending over the 
emigrant families taking possession of the rivers and valleys of 
Western Virginia." 

James Moore, whose father, of Scottish ancestry, had emigrated 
from Ireland to Pennsylvania, and thence to Virginia, married 
Martha Poage, and Mary, his second daughter, was born in his new 
home in a valley on the waters of the Blue Stone, a branch of New 
River. It was called " Apps' Valley," from Absalom Looney, a 
hunter, " supposed to be the first white man who disturbed the 
solitude, or beheld the beauty of the narrow low grounds luxuriating 

* This memoir is taken from " Sketches of Virginia, Historical and 
Biographical," by Rev. William Henry Foote, D.D., portions being abridged. 
The authentic materials were obtained by him from Rev. James Morrison, 
the son-in-law and successor to Rev. Samuel Brown. 



122 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

in the pea vine and sweet myrrh. The surrounding and distant 
scenery partook both pf the grand and the beautiful. To Mr. 
Moore, the valley was enchanting ; and being out of the track of 
the savages in their war incursions eastward, it seemed secure 
equally from the vexations of the civilized and the savage. 

" Mr. Looney, the hunter, built his cabin a mile lower down the 
creek ; John Poage about two and a half miles above ; and a num- 
ber of cabins were scattered about as convenience or fancy dictated. 
Mr, Moore's highest expectations in raising stock were realized. 
Assisted by Simpson, he soon became possessor of a hundred head 
of horses, and a large number of horned cattle, which found pastur- 
age sufficient for both summer and winter, with little aid or care 
from man. His dream of safety was broken. The wily savage 
discovered the white man's track, and the white man's cabin west of 
those Alleghanies, which they resolved should be an everlasting barrier 
between their homes in Ohio to which they had fled, and the hated 
whites who held the corn-fields and hunting-grounds of their 
fathers and their race, between those great mountains and the 
Atlantic shores. 

" To revenge this encroachment, the savages commenced their 
depredations, and compelled isolated families, summer after summer, 
to betake themselves to forts and stockades for their mutual 
defence. On one occasion a number of men being at the house 
of Mr. John Poage, one of them, on stepping out after nightfall, 
observed to his companions that a good look-out ought to be kept 
for Indians that night, for he heard an unusual noise, as of the hoot- 
ing of owls, which he supposed to be the signal of Indians approach- 
ing the house from different quarters. About midnight the house 
was surrounded by savages ; but finding the doors secured and the 
inmates on the watch, the Indians retired without committing any 
depredations. One of the party in the house seized a gun, not his 
own, unaware that it was double triggered, pressed the muzzle 
through the cracks of the cabin .against the body of a savage who 
was slily examining the state of things within, and in his 'eagerness 
to discharge the piece broke both the triggers, and the savage 



MARY MOORE. 123 

escaped. All was stillness both within and without the house ; 
such was the nature of savage warfare. Mr. Poage and most of the 
families now retired from this advanced position to the more secure 
neighborhoods in Rockbridge, Botetourt and Montgomery, while 
Mr. Moore and a few others remained. 

" Mr. Moore was a man of courage ; he loved the solitude and 
sweetness of the valley, and would not retreat through any fear of 
the hostile Indians. Five children were added to his family in this 
valley, making the number nine. Of these Mary, the fifth, was 
born in the year 1777, and passed the first nine years of her life in 
alternate solitude and alarms. On the 7th of September, 1784, 
James, then fourteen years of age,- was sent to Poage's deserted 
settlement to procure a horse for the purpose of going to the mill 
about twelve miles distant, through a dreary wilderness. Tie did 
not return, and the anxious search discovered trails of savages. In 
time the hope he had hidden in the woods or fled to some distant 
habitation, gave way to the sad conviction that his fate for life or 
death had been committed to the hands of barbarians. This be- 
reavement grieved, but did not subdue the heart of the father, who 
resolutely, almost stubbornly, maintained his position. After some 
time, a letter was received from Kentucky, giving him information 
of his lost son, then supposed to be in or near Detroit. Before any 
effective steps could be taken for his recovery, another and more 
mournful scene was enacted in Apps' Valley, awfully contrasting with 
the grandeur and beauty of surrounding nature, and the domestic 
peace and piety of Moore's dwelling. 

" The morning of the 14th July, 1786, a party of Indians came 
up Sandy River, crossed over to the head of Clinch, passed near 
where Tazewell Court-house now is, murdered a Mr. Davison and 
wife, and burned their dwelling, and passed on hastily to Apps'Valley, 
before any alarm could be given. A little spur puts out from the 
mountain, and gradually sloping towards the creek, about three 
hundred yards before it sinks into the low grounds, divides; at the 
extremity of one division stood Moore's house, and near the other 
the trough at which he was accustomed to salt his horses. At the 



124: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

time of the greatest peril all seemed most secure. It was harvest 
time ; and there were two men assisting Mr. Moore in his harvest. 
The guns were discharged on the preceding evening, to be reloaded 
some time in the morning. Simpson lay sick in the loft ; the men 
had repaired early to the wheat-field, to reap till breakfast time ; 
Moore was engaged in salting his horses ; his wife busied in her 
domestic concerns, and two of the children at the spring. Suddenly 
the savage yell was heard, and two parties rushed from their hiding- 
places on the ridge, the one down the slope to the house, and the 
other towards Mr. Moore. Two children, Rebecca and William, 
were shot dead near the salt block, on their return from the spring, 
and the third, Alexander, near the house. Mary rushed in, and the 
door was shut and barred against the approaching savages by Mrs. 
Moore and Martha Ivans, a member of the family, just in time to 
prevent their entrance. Mr. Moore finding himself intercepted by 
the Indians at the house, ran on through the small lot that sur- 
rounded it, and on climbing the fence, paused and turned, and in a 
moment was pierced with seven bullets. Springing from the fence, 
he ran a few paces, fell and expired. The two men in the harvest- 
field, seeing the house surrounded by a large company of savages, 
fled and escaped unharmed. Martha Ivans seized two of the guns, 
and ran upstairs to the sick man, Simpson, calling on him to shoot 
through the crevices ; but the poor man had already received his 
death-wound from a bullet aimed from without. Two stout dogs 
defended the door most courageously, till the fiercest was shot. 
Martha Ivans and Mary Moore secreted themselves under a part of 
the floor, taking with them the infant Margaret ; but the sobbings 
of the alarmed child forbade concealment, Should Mary place the 
child upon the floor, and conceal herself ? or share its fate ? She 
could not abandon her little sister even in that perilous moment, 
and left her hiding-place and her companion. The Indians were 
now cutting at the door and threatening fire. Mrs. Moore perceiv- 
ing that her faithful sentinels were silenced, Simpson expiring, and 
her husband dead, collected her four children, and kneeling down, 
committed them to God ; then rose, and unbarred the door. 



MARY MOORE. 125 

u After all resistance had ceased, the Indians, satisfied with the 
blood that had been shed, took Mrs. Moore and her four children, 
John, Jane, Mary, and Margaret, prisoners ; and having plundered 
to their satisfaction, set fire to the dwelling. Martha Ivans crept 
from the approaching flames, and again concealed herself beneath a 
log that lay across the little stream near the dwelling. While 
catching a few of the horses, one of the Indians crossed the log 
under which she was secreted, and sat down upon the end of it. 
The girl seeing him handle the lock of his gun, and supposing he 
had discovered and was about to fire upon her, came out, to the 
great surprise of the savage for he had not seen her, and to his 
great apparent joy delivered herself a captive. In a short time the 
Indians were on their march with their captives to their Shawnee 
towns in Ohio. The two men who escaped, hastened to the near- 
est family, a distance of six miles, and as soon as possible spread 
the alarm, among the settlements ; but before the armed men could 
reach the spot, the ruin was complete, and the depredators far on 
their way to Ohio. 

" After the horrible events of the morning, perhaps the mother 
wept not when the captors, dissatisfied with the delicate appearance 
and slow travelling of her weak-minded and feeble-bodied son 
John, despatched him at a blow, and hid him from the sight of 
pursuers. The hours of night passed slowly and sorrowfully as the 
four captives, all females, lay upon the ground, each tied to a war- 
rior, who slept tomahawk in hand, to prevent a re-capture, should 
they be overtaken by the pursuing whites. On the third day a new 
cup of sorrow was put into the mother's hand. The infant Marga- 
ret, whom Mary could not part with, had been spared to the 
mother ; the Indians even assisting .in carrying it. On the third 
day it became very fretful from a wound it had received on its cheek ; 
irritated by its crying, a savage seized it, and dashing its head 
against a tree, tossed it into the bushes. The company moved on 
in silence ; the sisters dared not, the mother would not, lament the 
fate of the helpless loved one. 

" After some twenty days of wearisome travel down the Sandy 



120 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

and Ohio Rivers, they came to the Scioto ; here the Indians showed 
Mrs. Moore some hieroglyphics on the trees representing three 
Indians and a captiye white boy ; this boy, they told her, was her 
son whom they had captured in their expedition two years before, 
who had been here with them, and was still a captive. The 
prisoners were then taken to their towns, near where Chilicothe now 
stands, and were kindly received. After a few days a council was 
called, and an aged Indian made a long speech dissuading from war ; 
the warriors shook their heads and retired. This old man took 
Mary Moore to his wigwam, treated her with great kindness, and 
appeared to commiserate her condition. In a short time a party of 
Cherokees, who had made an unsuccessful expedition in the western 
part of Pennsylvania, on their return home passed by the Shawnee 
towns, and stopped where Mrs. Moore and her daughter Jane were. 
Irritated at their ill success, and the loss of some of their warriors, 
the sight of these prisoners excited an irresistible thirst for revenge. 
While the Shavvnees were revelling with liquor, the Cherokees 
seized the mother and daughter, and condemned them to the tor- 
ture by fire and death at the stake. Their sufferings were pro- 
tracted through three days of agony. The uncomplaining mother 
comforted her poor dying child with gospel truth and exhortation, 
and died with a meekness that astounded the savages. The 
Shawnees never approved of this gratuitous act of cruelty, and 
always expressed unwillingness to converse about it. 

" When Mrs. Moore and her children, as captives, left their habi- 
tation in App's Valley, Mary took two New Testaments which she 
carried through all her wearisome journey to the Scioto ; one of 
them was taken from her by the young savages, and the other was 
her companion through the days of her bondage. The old Indian 
who showed her kindness on arriving at the towns, would often call 
her to his side and make her read to him, that he might hear l the 
book speak ;' and when any of the young Indians attempted to 
hide it from her, as they often did, he interposed with sternness and 
compelled them to restore it. 

u The two girls remained with the Shawnees till the fall of the 



MARY MOORE. 127 

year 1788, being kept as property of value without any definite 
object. Contentions sometimes arose among the Indians about the 
right of ownership ; and in times of intoxication, death was threatened 
as the only means of ending the quarrel. Whenever these threats 
were made, some of the sober Indians gave the girls the alarm in 
time for their secreting themselves. While free from the influence 
of drink, the Indians expressed great fondness for the girls, particu- 
larly the little black-eyed, golden-haired Mary. 

" The Shawnees continuing to be very troublesome to the fron- 
tiers, in the fall of 1788 an expedition was fitted out to destroy their 
towns on the Scioto. The Indians were informed by the traders of 
the design and departure of the expedition, and watched its pro- 
gress. On its near approach they deserted their towns, secreting 
their little property, and carrying their wives and children and aged 
ones beyond the reach of the enemy. Mary Moore revolved in her 
mind the probable chances of concealing herself in the forests until 
the arrival of the forces, and thus obtaining her liberty ; and was 
deterred from the attempt by the reflection that the season was late, 
and possibly the forces might not arrive before winter. Late in 
November the American forces reached the Scioto, burned the 
Shawnee towns, destroyed their winter provisions as far as they 
could be found, and immediately returned home. After the depar- 
ture of the forces the Indians returned to their ruined towns, and 
winter setting upon them, deprived of shelter, their extreme suffer- 
ings compelled them to seek for aid in Canada. On the journey 
to Detroit they endured the extremes of hunger and cold. Martha 
Ivans and Mary Moore with few garments, traversed the forests 
with deer-skin moccasins, the only covering for their feet in the deep 
snows. Not unfrequently they awoke in the morning covered with 
the snow that had fallen during the night ; once the depth of their 
snowy covering was twelve or fourteen inches, their only bed or 
protection, besides the bushes heaped together, being their single 
blanket. On reaching Detroit the Indians gave themselves to riot- 
ous drinking, and to indulge this appetite sold their young captives. 
Mary was purchased for half n gallon of rum, by a person named 



128 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Stogwell, who lived at Frenchtown ; Martha by a man in the "neigh- 
borhood of Detroit. Being soon after released she took up her resi- 
dence with a wealthy and worthy English family by the name of 
Donaldson, and received wages for her services. The purchaser of 
Mary neither liberated her, nor expressed any kindness for her, but 
employed her as a servant, with poor clothing and scanty fare. The 
circumstances of her redemption and return to her friends in Vir- 
ginia, are related by her brother James Moore, in the narrative of 
his own captivity and redemption." This presents so faithful a 
picture of Indian captivity, that we shall extract part of it before 
resuming the history of Mary. 

" My father sent me to a waste plantation about two miles and a 
quarter up the valley, to get a horse to go to mill. 1 came within a 
few paces of the field, when suddenly the Indians sprang out from 
behind a large log ; and being before alarmed, I screamed with all 
my might. The Indian that took me, laid his hand on the top of 
my head and bade me hush. There were only three Indians in the 
company. Their leader, Black Wolf, a middle-aged man, of the 
most stern countenance I ever beheld, about six feet high, having a 
long black beard, was the one who caught hold of me. 

"In a few moments we started on our journey. The Indians 
went up into the thicket where their kettle and blankets were hid, 
covered up in the leaves, and took them. We travelled down a 
creek called Tugg, the north fork of Sandy, that afternoon about 
eight miles. The walking was very laborious on account of the 
high weeds, green briers, logs, and the mountainous character of the 
country. At night we lay down in a laurel thicket without fire or. 
anything to eat. The night was rainy. I lay beside Black Wolf, 
with a leading halter round my neck tied very tight, and the other 
end wrapped round his hands, so as to make it very secure, and so 
that I could not get away without waking him. He had also 
searched me very carefully to see that I had no knife. During the 
afternoon the two young Indians walked before ; I next to them, 
and old Wolf followed ; and if any sign was made he would remove 
it with his tomahawk, so that there might be no marks or traces of 



MAKY MOORE. 129 

the way we had gone. I frequently broke bushes, which he dis- 
covered and shook his tomahawk over my head, giving me to under- 
stand that if I did not desist he would strike me with it. I then 
would scratch the ground with my feet ; this he also discovered and 
made me desist ; and showed me how to set my feet flat so as not to 
make any special marks. It then became necessary for me to cease 
any efforts to make a trail for others to follow. About sun-down 
Old Wolf gave a tremendous war whoop, and another the next morn- 
ing at sunrise. This was repeated every evening at sun-down, and 
every morning at sunrise, during our whole journey. It was long, 
loud, and shrill, signifying that he had one prisoner. The custom 
is to repeat it as frequently as the number of prisoners. This whoop 
is different from the* one they make when they have scalps. 

" In the evening of September 9th, we encamped for the night 
under a projecting cliff, and here for the first time kindled a fire. 
Old Wolf took the precaution of cutting a number of bushes and 
bending them outward from our encampment so as to embarrass 
any one approaching us, if we had been pursued. The next day 
they killed a lean bear, but so very lean they would not eat of it ; 
so we were still without food. Several times during the. days of our 
fasting, the Indians went to the north side of a poplar, and cut off 
some of the bark near the root, pounded it, and put it in the kettle 
and put water on it ; this we drank occasionally, which seemed to 
have a salutary effect in relieving the sufferings of hunger. 

" We killed buffalo and deer as we stood in need, till we arrived 
(Sept. 29th) at the towns over the Ohio, on the head waters of Mud 
River, which took us about twenty-two days' travelling. I travelled 
the whole route barefooted, and frequently walked over large rattle- 
snakes, but was not suffered to kill or interrupt them, the Indians 
considering them their friends. 

" We crossed the Ohio, between the mouths of Guyandotte and 
Big Sandy, on a raft made of dry logs tied together with grape vines. 
On the banks of the Scioto we lay by one day, and the Indians 
made pictures on the trees of three Indians and of me ; intended as 
hieroglyphics to represent themselves and me as their prisoner. 
6* 



130 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

These they afterwards showed to my sister. Near this, Old Wolf 
went off and procured some bullets which -he had secreted. 

44 When we were within a short distance of the towns, the Indians 
blacked themselves, but not me. I was taken to the residence of 
Wolf's half-sister,- to whom he had sold me for an old grey horse. 
Shortly after I was sold, my mistress left me in her wigwam for 
several days entirely alone, leaving a kettle of hominy for me to eat. 
In this solitary situation I first began earnestly to pray and call upon 
God for mercy and deliverance, and found great relief in prayer. I 
now found the benefit of the religious instruction and examples I 
had enjoyed." * * 

44 In about two weeks after I had been sold, the woman who 
bought me sent me out in company with her half-brother and others, 
on a winter's hunting excursion. We were very unsuccessful. My 
sufferings from hunger and cold were very great. I had scarcely 
any clothing; the snow was knee deep ; my blanket was too short 
to cover me. Often after having lain down and drawn up my feet 
to get them underneath my blanket, I was so benumbed that I could 
not, without considerable exertion, get my legs stretched out again. 
Early in the morning the old Indian would build a large fire, and 
send me and all the young Indians and make us plunge all over in 
cold water, which I think was a very great benefit to me, and pre- 
vented me from catching cold, as is usual under circumstances of so 
much exposure." 

The husband of James's mistress one day came home from a 
meeting of the Powwow Society, and informed her that an apparition 
sent by the Great Spirit, had reproved the Indians for their sins, their 
idleness and want of brotherly kindness, and had predicted the de- 
struction of their towns. These predictions were literally fulfilled in 
the course of three years, in the invasion of Logan from Kentucky. 
In the mean time a French trader from Detroit, named Baptiste 
Ariome, took a fancy to young Moore on account of his resemblance 
to one of his sons, and bought him for fifty dollars' worth of brooches, 
crapes, and other commodities. James also met with a trader from 
Kentucky, whom he requested to write a letter to his father, and 



MARY MOORE. 131 

give it to a young man he had rescued from the Indians, to convey 
to Mr. Moore. At the house of Ariome James was treated like a 
son, and worked on the farm, occasionally assisting in trading expe- 
ditions. On one of these he heard of the destruction of his father's 
family, from a Shawanee Indian who was one of the party of assail- 
ants. The information was given the latter part of the same sum- 
mer in which the massacre was perpetrated. In the winter follow- 
ing, James heard that his sister Mary was purchased by Mr. Stog- 
well, and that she was ill-treated in his family. In the spring Stog- 
well moved into the neighborhood where he lived ; young Moore 
immediately went to see his sister, and found her in an abject con- 
dition, clothed in a few dirty rags. Being advised to apply to the 
commanding officer at Detroit, he went with Simon Girty to Col. 
McKee, superintendent for the Indians, who had Stogwell brought 
to trial to answer the complaint against him ; and though the poor 
girl was not taken from her inhuman master, it was decided that 
when an opportunity offered for her return home, she should be re- 
leased without remuneration. This was brought about through the 
efforts of Thomas Ivans, the brother of Martha, who had determined 
to seek his lost sister, and the members of Mr. Moore's family who 
might be living. Clothing himself in skins, and securing some 
money about his person, with rifle in hand, he proceeded to the 
tribes in whose possession the captives had been, and traced their 
wanderings to their several places of abode. His sister was living 
at Mr. Donaldson's ; Mary Moore was delivered up by Mr. Stogwell, 
and James by Mr. Ariome. " All being at liberty," says Moore, " we 
immediately prepared to go to our distant friends, and as well as I 
can remember, set out some time in October, 1789 ; it being about 
five years from the time I had been taken prisoner by the Indians, 
and a little more than three from the captivity of my sister. A 
trading-boat coming down the lakes, we obtained a passage in it for 
myself and sister Polly to the Moravian towns, a distance of about 
two hundred miles, which was on our way to Pittsburgh. There r 
according to appointment, the day after our arrival, Thomas Ivans 
and his sister Martha met us. We then prepared immediately for 



z.32 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

our journey to Pittsburgh. Here Mr. Ivans got his shoulder dis- 
located, in consequence of which we stayed a part of the winter in 
the vicinity, with an uncle and aunt of his, until he became able to 
travel. Having expended all his money with the doctor and in tra- 
velling, he left his sister Martha, and proceeded with Polly and my- 
self to the house of an uncle about ten miles south-west of Staunton, 
and having received from an uncle, the administrator of his father's 
estate, compensation for his services, he afterwards returned and 
brought his sister Martha. 

" A day or two after we set out, having called at a public house 
for breakfast, while it was preparing, my sister took out her Testa- 
ment and was engaged in reading. Being called to breakfast, she 
laid down her Testament, and when 'we resumed our journey she 
forgot it. After we had proceeded several miles she thought of her 
Testament, and strongly insisted on turning back ; but such were 
the dangers of the way, and such the necessity of speeding our jour- 
ney, that we could not." 

Martha Ivans married a man by the name of Hummer, removed 
to Indiana, and reared a large family, so that she is included in the 
list of pioneer mothers. Two of her sons became Presbyterian cler- 
gymen. Shortly after her return to Rockbridge, Mary Moore went 
to live with her uncle, Joseph Walker, about six miles south of 
Lexington, and in mature years became the wife of Rev. Samuel 
Brown, pastor of New Providence. She became the mother of 
eleven children, nine of whom survived her; and through life re- 
tained a strong attachment for the wild people of the forest, which 
no memory of wrong could obliterate. The self-reliance, patience, 
and self-denial she acquired, in part, in her captivity, were eminent 
through life. She was blessed with children as dutiful and pious 
as she had proved in her childhood, and saw, in her success in 
training her household, the influence of her own force of character 
developed by such strange circumstances, and the power of a Chris- 
tian example. 



JOUKNEY WESTWARD. 133 

Some idea of the difficulties of travel in those days may be given 
by the following extract from a description of a journey westward 
in 1784.* "Pack-horses were the only means of transportation 
then, and for years after. We were provided with three horses, on 
one of which my mother rode carrying her infant with all the table 
furniture and cooking utensils. On another were packed the stores 
of provisions, the plough irons, and other agricultural tools. The 
third horse was rigged out with a" pack saddle and two large creels, 
made of hickory withs in the fashion of a crate, one over each side, 
in which were stowed the beds and bedding, and the wearing 
apparel of the family. In the centre of these creels there was an 
aperture prepared for myself and little sister, and the top was well 
secured by lacing to keep us in our places, so that only our heads 
appeared above. Each family was supplied with one or more cows ; 
their milk furnished the morning and evening meal for the chil- 
dren, and the surplus was carried in canteens for use during the 
day. 

" When the caravan reached the mountains, the road was found 
to be hardly passable for loaded horses. In many places the path 
lay along the edge of a precipice, where, if the horse had stumbled 
or lost his balance, he would have been precipitated several hundred 
feet below. The path was crossed by many streams raised by the 
melting snow and spring rains, and running with rapid current in 
deep ravines ; most of these had to be forded, and for many succes- 
sive days, hair-breadth escapes were continually occurring ; some- 
times horses falling, at others carried away by the current, and the 
women and children with difficulty saved from drowning. Some- 
times in ascending steep acclivities, the lashing of the creels would 
give way, both creels and children tumble to the ground arid roll 
clown the steep, unless arrested by some traveller of the company. 
The men who had been inured to the hardships of war, could 
endure the fatigues of the journey ; it was the mothers who suffered ; 
they could not, after the toils of the day, enjoy the rest so much 
needed at night. The wants of their suffering children must be 
* American Pioneer, vol. II. 



134 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Attended to. After preparing their simple meal, they lay down 
with scanty covering in a miserable cabin, or, as it sometimes hap- 
pened, in the open air, and often unrefreshed. were obliged to 
rise early to encounter the fatigues and dangers of another day." 

"The division lines between those whose lands adjoined, were 
generally made in an amicable manner, before any survey of them 
was made by the parties concerned. In doing this, they were guided 
mainly by the tops of ridges and water courses, but particularly 
the former. Hence the greater number of farms in the western 
parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia bear a striking resemblance to an 
amphitheatre ; the tops of the surrounding hills being the boundaries 
of the tract to which the family mansion belongs." 

Besides the exposure of the emigrants to Indian depredations 
and massacres, " they had other trials to endure which at the pre- 
sent day cannot be appreciated. One of the most vexatious was the 
running away of their horses. As soon as the fly season commenced 
the horses seemed resolved on leaving the country and crossing the 
mountains. They swam the Monongahela, and often proceeded a 
hundred- and fifty miles before they were taken up. During the 
husband's absence in pursuit of them, the wife was left alone with 
her children in their unfinished cabin, surrounded by forests, in which 
the howl of wolves was heard from every hill. If want of provi- 
sions, or other causes,' made a visit to a neighbor's necessary, she 
must either take her children with her through the woods, or leave 
them unprotected, under the most fearful apprehension that some 
mischief might befal them before her return. As bread and meat 
were scarce, milk was the principal dependence for the support of 
the family. One cow of each family was provided with a bell, 
which could be heard from' half a mile to a mile. The matron on 
rising in the morning listened for her cow-bell, which she knew well 
enough to detect, even amidst a clamor of others. If her children 
were small, she tied them in bed to prevent their wandering, and 
guard them from danger of fire and snakes ; and guided by the 
tinkling of the bell, made her way through the tall weeds and 
across the ravines until she found the objects of her search. Happy 



ANECDOTE. 135 

on her return to find her children unharmed, and regardless of a 
thorough wetting from the dew, she hastened to prepare their 
breakfast of milk boiled with a little meal or hominy ; or in the 
protracted absence of her husband, it was often reduced to milk 
alone. Occasionally venison and turkeys were obtained from 
hunters." 

An anecdote is related in the " American Pioneer," of Gov. 
McArthur, on his first visit to the West, which throws light on the 
situation of the early settlers. He stopped some time at Baker's 
Station, about twenty miles below Wheeling. There was war with 
the Indians, and the settlers about Fish Creek were occupying the 
station for security ; so long, however, had the enemy been absent 
from that section of country, that the inmates went and came when 
they pleased. A young lady of great beauty, who lived at the 
place, had acquired proficiency in the art of shooting with the rifle. 
" I think her name was Scott, but it may have been Baker. Early 
one morning she went to the run, some fifty or sixty yards above 
the post, to wash linen, taking her gun along, and young McArthur 
accompanied her to stand guard while she was employed at the 
wash tub. Before long a small dog that was with them commenced 
barking, and gave such manifestations of alarm that the young lady 
desired her companion to make a hasty reconnoissance of the adja- 
cent grounds. The motions of the dog had awakened fear that 
Indians might be lurking close by, but McArthur discovered 
nothing to confirm the suspicion. The washing was resumed and 
in due course completed ; after which they both returned to the 
sfation. Just as they were about to enter the gate, a tali athletic 
looking Indian sprang from behind a tree not more than thirty 
paces beyond the spot where they had been washing and darted off 
rapidly into the woods. Pursuit was instantly made, but he was 
not overtaken. He must have posted himself behind the tree din- 
ing the previous night, with the intention of shooting the first per- 
son that ventured out of the works in the morning. The appear- 
ance of two disconcerted his plan. Me Arthur's gallantry on this 
occasion was the means of, saving the young lady's life." 



136 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

. De Hass describes a station as a parallelogram of cabins united 
by palisades, so as to present a continued wall on the outer sides, 
the cabin doors opening into a common square on the inner side. 
A fort was generally a stockade enclosure, embracing cabins, etc., for 
the accommodation of several families. Doddridge says, " a range 
of cabins commonly formed at least one side, separated by divisions 
or partitions of logs. The walls on the outside were ten or twelve - 
feet high, with a roof sloping inward. Some of the cabins had 
puncheon floors, but the greater part were earthen. 

" The blockhouses were built at the angles of the fort, and pro- 
jected about two feet beyond the outer walls of the cabins and 
stockades. Their upper stories were about eighteen inches or two 
feet every way larger than the under one, leaving an opening at the 
commencement of the second story, to prevent the enemy from 
making a lodgment under their walls. In some forts, instead of 
blockhouses, the angles were furnished with bastions. A large fold- 
ing gate, made of thick slabs, nearest the spring, closed the fort. 
The stockades, bastions, cabins, and blockhouse walls were furnished 
with portholes at proper heights and distances. The whole of the 
outside was made completely bullet proof. The families belonging to 
these forts were so attached to their own cabins on their farms, that 
they seldom moved into the fort in the spring until compelled by some 
alarm ; that is, when it was announced by some murder that Indians 
were in the settlement." 

Butler describes the dwellings of the first settlers of the West 
as composed of the trunks of trees, bared of their branches, notched 
at the ends and fitted upon one another in a quadrangular shape, tp 
the desired height. Openings through the logs left room for doors 
and shutters. A capacious opening, nearly the whole width of the 
cabin, made the fire-place. By this ample width economy of labor 
in cutting fire-wood, as well as comfort in houses, was consulted. 

" The furniture of the table, for several years after the settlement 
of the country, consisted of a few pewter dishes, plates and spoons ; 
but mostly of wooden bowls, trenchers and noggins. If these last 
were scarce, gourds and hard-shelled squashes made up the de- 



137 

ficiency. The iron pots, knives and forks were brought from the 
East, with the salt and iron, on pack-horses. These articles of fur- 
niture corresponded very well with the articles of diet. ' Hog and 
hominy' was a dish of proverbial celebrity. Johnny-cake or pone 
was at the outset of the settlements the only form of bread in use 
for breakfast and dinner ; at supper, milk and mush was the standard 
dish. When milk was scarce, hominy supplied its place, and mush 
was frequently eaten with sweetened water, molasses, bear's oil, or 
the gravy of fried meat. 

" In our display of furniture, delf, china and silver were Unknown. 
The introduction of delf ware was considered by many of the back- 
woods people as a wasteful innovation. It was too easily broken, 
and the plates dulle'd their scalping and clasp knives. Tea and 
coffee, in the phrase of the day, * did not stick by the ribs.' The 
idea then prevalent was, that they were only designed for people of 
quality, who did not labor, or for the rich. A genuine backwoods- 
man would have thought himself disgraced by showing a fondness 
for such ' slops.' 

" On the frontier and particularly among hunters in the habit of 
going on campaigns, the dress of the men was partly Indian. The 
hunting-shirt universally worn was a kind of loose frock, reaching 
half way down the thighs, with large sleeves, open before, and so 
wide as to lap over a foot or more when belted. The cape was 
large, and sometimes fringed with a ravelled piece of cloth, of differ- 
ent color from the hunting-shirt. The bosom of this dress served as 
a wallet to hold bread, cakes, jerk, tow for wiping the barrel of the 
rifle, or any other necessary for the hunter or warrior. The belt, 
always tied behind, answered several purposes ; in cold weather the 
mittens, and sometimes the bullet-bag, occupied its front part ; on 
the right side was suspended the tomahawk, on the left the scalping 
knife in its leathern sheath. The hunting-shirt was generally made 
of linsey, sometimes of coarse linen, and a few of dressed deer-skin ; 
these last very cold and uncomfortable in wet weather. The shirt 
and jacket were of the common fashion. A pair of drawers, or 
breeches and ieggins, jvere the dress of the thighs and legs ; a pair 






138 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of moccasins answered for the feet much better than shoes. These 
were made of dressed deer-skin, and were mostly of a single piece, 
with a seam along the top of the foot, and another from the bottom 
of the heel, as high or a little higher than the ancle joint. Flaps 
were left on each side, to reach some distance up the legs. These 
were nicely adapted to the ancles and lower part of the leg by 
thongs of deerskin, so that no dust, gravel, or snow could get within 
the moccasin. In cold weather this was well stuffed with deer's bail- 
or dried leaves, to keep the feet comfortably warm ; but in wet 
weather it was usually said that wearing moccasins was t a decent 
way of going barefoot ; ' and such was the fact, owing to the spongy 
texture of the leather of which they were made. Owing to this de- 
fective covering of the feet, many of our hunters and warriors were 
afflicted with rheumatism in their limbs. Of this disease they were 
all apprehensive in cold or wet weather, and therefore always slept 
with their feet to the fire, to prevent or cure it as well as they could. 
This practice unquestionably had a very salutary effect, and pre- 
vented many of them from becoming confirmed cripples in early 
life. 

" In the latter years of the Indian war, our young men became 
more enamored . of the Indian dress. The drawers were laid aside, 
and the leggins made longer, so as to reach the upper part of the 
thigh. The Indian breech cloth was adopted. This was a piece of 
linen or cloth, nearly a yard long, and eight or nine inches broad, 
passing under the belt, before and behind, leaving the ends for flaps 
hanging before and behind over the belt, sometimes ornamented 
with coarse embroidery. To the same belt which secured the breech 
cloth, strings, supporting the long leggins, were attached. When this 
belt, as was often the case, passed over the hunting-shirt, the upper 
part of the thighs and part of the hips were naked. The young 
warrior, instead of being abashed by this, was proud of his Indian 
dress. In some few instances I have seen them go into places of 
public worship in this dress." De Hass adds, that old hunters have 
said it was the most comfortable, convenient, and desirable that could 



PIONEER WEDDING. 139 

have been invented t* v the times in which it was used. Linsey coats 
and gowns were the universal dress of the women in early times. 

A description of a wearing among the pioneers may serve to 
illustrate their manners. The following is taken from Doddridge's 
Notes : 

" In the first years of the settlement, a wedding engaged the at- 
tention of a whole neighborhood, and the frolic was anticipated by 
old and young with eager expectation. This will not be wondered 
at, as a wedding was almost the only gathering unaccompanied with 
the labor of .reaping, log-rolling, building a cabin, or planning some 
warlike expedition. 

" On the morning of the wedding day, the groom and his attend- 
ants assembled at the house of his father, for the purpose of reaching 
the home of his bride by noon, the usual time for celebrating the 
nuptials. Let the reader imagine an assemblage of people, without 
a store, tailor, or mantuamaker .vithin a hundred miles ; and an as- 
semblage of horses, without a blacksmith or saddler within an equal 
distance ; the gentlemen dressed in shoepacks, moccasins, leather 
breeches, leggins, linsey hunting-shirts, and all home-made ; the 
ladies in linsey petticoats and linsey or linen bedgowns, coarse 
shoes, stockings, handkerchiefs, and buckskin gloves, if any. If there 
were any buckles, rings, buttons, or ruffles, they were the relics of 
olden times, family pieces from parents or grandparents. The 
horses were caparisoned with old saddles, old bridles or halters, and 
pack-saddles, with a bag or blanket thrown over them ; a rope or 
string as often constituted the girth as a piece of leather. The march, 
in double file, was often interrupted by the narrowness and obstruc- 
tions of the horse-paths, for there were no roads ; and these difficul- 
ties were often increased by fallen trees and grape vines tied across 
the way. Sometimes an ambuscade was formed by the wayside, 
and an unexpected discharge of several guns took place, so as to 
cover the wedding company with smoke. Let the reader imagine 
the scene that followed this discharge ; the sudden spring of the 
horses, the shrieks of the girls, and the chivalrous bustle of their 
partners to save them from falling. If a wrist, elbow, or ancle hap- 



14:0 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST 



pened to be sprained, it was tied with a h^kercbief, and little 
more was thought or said about it. 

" The ceremony of the marriage prtf&tad the dinner, which was 
a substantial backwoods feast of beef, pork, fowls, and sometimes 
venison and bear meat roasted and boiled, with plenty of potatoes, 
cabbage, and other vegetables. During the dinner the greatest 
hilarity always prevailed, although the table might be a large slab 
of timber hewed out with a broad axe, supported by four sticks set 
in auger holes ; and the furniture, some old pewter dishes and platen, 
eked out with. wooden bowls and trenchers. A few pewter spoons, 
much battered about the edges, were seen at some tables ; the rest 
were made of horn. If knives were scarce, the deficiency was made 
up by the scalping knives which every man carried in sheaths sus- 
pended to the belt of the hunting-shirt* After dinner the dancing 
commenced, and generally lasted till the next morning. The figures 
of the dances were three and four-handed reels and jigs. The com- 
mencement was always a square four, which was followed by what was 
called 'jigging it off; ' that is, two of the four would single out for a 
jig, and be followed by the remaining couple. The jigs were often 
accompanied with what was called ' cutting out ; ' that is, when 
either of the parties became tired of the dance, on intimation, the 
place was supplied by some one of the company, without any inter- 
ruption to the dance. In this way it was often continued till the 
musician was heartily tired of his situation. Towards the latter part 
of the night, if any of the company, through weariness, attempted 
to conceal themselves for the purpose of sleeping, they were hunted 
up, paraded on the floor, and the fiddler ordered to play ' Hang out 
till to-morrow morning. 5 

" About nine or ten o'clock a deputation of the young ladies stole 
off the bride and put her to bed. In doing this it frequently happened 
that they had to ascend a ladder instead of stairs, leading from the 
dining and ball-room to a loft, the floor of which was made of clap- 
boards lying loose. This ascent, one might think, would put the 
bride and her attendants to the blush ; but as the foot of the ladder 
was commonly behind the door, purposely opened for the occasion, 






S POETS. 



and its rounds at the inner ends were well hung with hunting- 
shirts, dresses, and other articles of clothing the candles being on 
the opposite side of the house, the exit of the bride was noticed but by 
few. This done, a deputation of young men, in like manner, stole off 
the groom, while the dance still, -continued, and late at night refresh- 
ment in the shape of 4 black Baity' the bottle was sent up the ladder, 
with sometimes substantial accompaniments of bread, beef, pork and 
cabbage. The feasting- and dancing often lasted several days, at the 
end of which the * n le company were so exhausted with loss of 
sleep, that m^/ days' rest was requisite to fit them to return to 
their 'ordin^r labors." 

Some^ nes ft happened that neighbors or relations not asked to 

the wt^ n o> ^k offence, and revenged themselves by cutting off 

^ .nanes, foretops and tails of horses belonging to the wedding 

company. 

The same writer thus describes the usual manner of settlinor a 

o 

young couple in the world : " A spot was selected on a piece of 
land belonging to one of the parents, for their habitation, and a day 
appointed shortly after their marriage, to commence the work of 
building their cabin. The materials were prepared on the first day, 
and sometimes the foundation laid in the evening. The second 
day was allotted for the raising. The cabin being furnished, the 
ceremony of housewarming took place before the young couple 
were permitted to move into it. The house-warming was a dance 
of a wholo night's continuance, made up of the relations of the 
bridegroom and their neighbors. On the day following, the young 
couple took possession of their new premises. 

" Many of the sports of the early settlers of this country were 
imitative of the exercises and stratagems of hunting and war. Boys 
were taught the use of the bow and arrow at an early ago ; but 
although they acquired considerable adroitness, so as to kill a bird 
or squirrel, yet it appears to me that in the hands of the white 
people, the bow and arrow could never be depended on for warfare 
or hunting. One important pastime of the boys that of imitating 
the noise of every bird and beast in the woo<Js was a necessary 



142 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

part of education on account of its utility under certain circum- 
stances. Imitating the gobbling and other sounds of the wild 
turkey, often brought those ever watchful tenants of the fortst 
within reach of the rifle. The bleating of the fawn brought its dam 
to her death in the same way. The hunter often collected a com- 
pany of mopish owls to the trees ^bout his camp, and amused 
himself with their hoarse screaming. His howl would raise and 
obtain responses from a pack of wolves, s* as to inform him of their, 
whereabouts, as well as to guard him against th^; r depredations. 

" This imitative faculty was sometimes requisite <^ a measure of 
precaution in war. The Indians, when scattered abou, i n a 
borhood, often collected together by imitating turkeys b : 
wolves or owls by night. In similar situations our people"^ ^ ne 
same. I have often witnessed the consternation of a whole livh- 
borhood in consequence of the screeching of owls. An early m^ 
correct use of this imitative faculty was considered as an indication 
that its possessor would become in due time a good hunter and a 
valiant warrior. 

" Throwing the tomahawk 'was another boyish sport in which 
many acquired considerable skill. The tomahawk, with its handle 
of a certain length, will make a given number of turns within a 
certain distance ; say in five steps it will strike with the edge, the 
handle downwards at the distance of seven and a half it will 
strike wiih the edge, the handle upwards, and so on. A little 
experience enabled the boy to measure the distance with his eye 
when walking through the wood, and to strike a tree with his toma 
hawk in any way he chose. A well grown boy at the age of twelve 
or thirteen, was furnished with a small rifle and shot pouch. He 
then became a foot soldier, and had his port-hole assigned him. 
Hunting squirrels, turkeys, and racoons, soon made him expert in 
the use of his gun. 

" The athletic sp rts of running, jumping, and wrestling, were the 
pastimes of boys in common with men. Dramatic narrations, 
chiefly concerning Jack and the Giant, furnished our young people 
with another source of amusement during their leisure hours. The 



HUNTING. ] 43 

different incidents of the narration were easily committed to memory, 
and have been handed down from generation to generation." The 
singing of the first settlers was rude enough. " Robin Hood 
furnished a number of our songs ; the balance were mostly tragical ; 
these were denominated i love songs about murder.' As to cards, 
dice, backgammon, and other games of chance, we knew nothing 
about them. They are among the blessed gifts of civilization ! 

" Hunting was an important part of the employment of the early 
settlers. For some years the woods supplied them with the 
greater amount of their subsistence, and it was no uncommon thing 
for families to live several months without a mouthful of bread. It 
frequently happened that there was no breakfast till it was obtained 
from the woods. Fur constituted the people's money ; they had 
nothing, else to give in exchange for rifles, salt, and iron, on the 
other side of the mountains. The fall and early part of the winter 
was the season for hunting the deer, and the whole of the winter, 
including part of the spring, for bears and fur-skinned animals. It 
was a customary saying, that fur is good during every month in the 
name of which the letter E, occurs. 

" As soon as the leaves were pretty well down, and the weather 
became rainy, accompanied with light snows, these men, after acting 
the part of husbandmen as far as the state of warfare permitted, 
began to feel that they were hunters, and became uneasy at home, 
their minds being wholly occupied with the camp and chase. 
Hunting was not a mere ramble in pursuit of game, in which there 
was nothing of skill and calculation ; on the contrary, the hunter 
before he set out in the morning, was informed by the state of the 
weather where he might reasonably expect to find his game, 
whether on the bottom, the sides, or tops of the hills. In stormy 
weather the deer always seek the most sheltered places, and the 
leeward side of the hills. In rainy weather, when there is not 
much wind, they keep in the open woods on the high ground. In 
every situation it was requisite for the hunter to ascertain the 
course of the wind, so as to get the leeward of the game. As it 
was necessary, too, to know the cardinal points, he had to observe 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the trees to ascertain them. The bark of an aged tree is thicker 
and much rougher on the north than the south side ; and the same 
may be said of the moss. From morning till night the hunter was 
on the alert to gain the wind of his game, and approach them with- 
out being discovered. If he succeeded in killing a deer, he skinned 
it and hung it up out of the reach of the wolves, and immediately 
resumed the chase till the close of the evening, when he bent his 
course towards his camp ; when arrived there he kindled up his fire, 
and together with his fellow hunter, cooked his supper. The supper 
finished, the adventures of the day furnished tales for the evening, 
in which the spike-buck, the two and three pronged buck, the doe 
and barren doe, figured to great advantage."* 

" A place for a camp was selected as near water as convenient, 
and a fire was kindled by the side of the largest suitable log that 
could be procured. The ground was preferred to be rather sideling, 
that the hunters might lie with the feet to the fire, and the head up 
hill. The common mode of preparing a repast was by sharpening a 
stick at both ends, and sticking one end in the ground before the, 
fire, and their meat on the other end. This stick could be turned 
round, or the meat on it, as occasion required. Sweeter roast meat 
than was prepared in this manner no European epicure ever tasted. 
Bread, when they had flour to make it of, was either baked under 
the ashes, or the dough rolled in long rolls, and wound round a 
stick like that prepared for roasting meat, and managed in the same 
way. Scarce any one who has not tried it, can imagine the sweet- 
ness of such a meal, in such a place, at such a time. French mus- 
tard, or the various condiments used as a substitute for an appetite, 
are nothing to this."f 

* Doddridge's Notes. f American Pioneer. 



VII. 

ANN HAYNES. 

IT is mentioned in " The Women of the American Revolution,' 1 * 
that on the approach of Cornwallis to Charlotte, the family of Mr 
Brown sought refuge at the house of James Haynes, who lived upon 
the road leading north of Cowan's Ford on the Catawba River. 
While they remained here, the British ia pursuit of Morgan stopped 
at the house, plundered it, and made the owner a prisoner. Mrs. 
Haynes, despoiled of everything in the way of provision, herself con- 
ducted family worship .that night, and praying for the restoration 
of her captive husband, entreated earnestly the interposition of 
Providence to protect the right. This pious and exemplary 
matron, whose heart bled for the woes of her oppressed country, 
and who encouraged her sons to struggle bravely in its defence, was 
little aware of the extent of the beneficent influence her noblo 
character was to exercise on succeeding generations. The death-bed 
gift she received from her father a copy of the Westminster 
Confession of Faith printed at Edinburgh in 1707 was bequeathed 
by her as sacredly to her son, John Haynes, and is kept as a vene- 
rated relic in his family. Eight of the descendants of Mrs. Hayiies 
are now ministers in the Presbyterian church, devoted to the expo- 
sition and extension of the true and simple doctrines of the gospel, 

* Memoir of Jane Gaston, Vol. III. page 229. 
7 



TIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

while others are engaged in the same good work in other denomina- 
tions all carrying out and exemplifying the sterling principles 
derived from their independent ancestors of the era of Cromwell's 
Protectorate. 

One of Mrs. Haynes' descendants has favored me with some 
notices of the matron and her family, from the recollections of her 
widowed daughter-in-law, Margaret Haynes, who was for some 
years a resident of Cornersville, in Tennessee. Her maiden name 
was Ann Huggins. She was the daughter of John Huggins, a 
Scotch Presbyterian, who emigrated from the north of Ireland to 
America about 1730. She married James Haynes about 1748. 
In a catalogue of the Pioneer Women of the West, her name may 
well find a place. After her marriage, she settled upon the verge 
of civilization, in the county of Dauphin, Pennsylvania, where she 
was exposed to the frontier troubles of that colony, but stronger 
attractions soon drew her family to the South. 

In 1752, James Haynes and two brothers, and many kinsmen 
with their families, ventured out to the then Far West, in the valley 
of the Catawba, in the colony of North Carolina. Here, upon the 
very borders of the hostile Cherokees and Catawbas, they established 
themselves, building a fort as a defence against Indian incursions, 
and maintained their position by the strength of their arms. For 
several years, cooped up within the limits of a frontier station, they 
courageously opposed the marauding parties of the hostile tribes in 
their neighborhood. It was ia this year that the settlement of the 
upper country, both of North and South Carolina, began. At that 
time the frontiers of Pennsylvania were east of the mountains ; and 
Fort Duquesne was a French trading post. The settlements in 
Virginia were\still confined to the Atlantic slope, and it was several 
years later, when Col. Bird of the British army, advanced into 
the wilderness, and established Fort Chissel, as a protection to 
the advancing settlements. Still later, Gov. Dobbs, of North 
Carolina, succeeded in establishing Fort London, in the midst of the 
Cherokee nation. Notwithstanding its exposed situation, the 
settlement grew rapidly, so that in a few years the entire valley of 






ANN HAYNES. \\QU/M 

the Catawba was occupied. At this time there were so many 
buffaloes in this region, that a good hunter could easily kill enough 
in a few days, to supply his family for the year. Wild turkeys, 
bears, deer, wolves, and panthers, were also abundant. Every little 
mountain stream abounded with otters, beavers, and musk-rats. 
Each pioneer could raise as many head of cattle as he thought 
proper ; the profusion of canes and grasses, rendering stock-raising 
so easy, that the means of plentiful living was almost to be had 
without labor. A few skins usually sufficed to purchase upon the 
seaboard all the necessary supplies of iron, salt, etc., for the year. 

This kind of life, requiring the daily use of the rifle, and much 
exercise on horseback, and exposure to the open air in the woods, 
made these hardy men the best of soldiers, and enabled them to 
cope with the wild warriors of the savage tribes who dwelt on their 
borders. The axe, and the rifle, and the horse, were their constant 
companions. Each settler sought a home near some clear spring 
or stream, convenient to the range and susceptible of defence 
against the Indians. In such a settlement the means of education 
were limited, and but for the religious zeal and pious labors of a 
few educated ministers who cast their fortunes with the colonists, 
would have been unattainable. The Rev. Hezekiah Balch, after- 
wards a signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, 
was one of (hem. 

In all the trials and disorders of the transition state of society 
peculiar to the frontiers of the West, these pioneers never forgot the 
principles, nor gave up the practice of those Christian virtues which 
they had received from their ancestors. Here, in the midst of the 
solitudes of their deep pine forests, they reared their sons and 
daughters in the fear of God and in the love of liberty, and when 
the storm of civil war burst forth, and they were called upon to 
sustain the cause of an oppressed people, they did not hesitate to 
send their sons forth to battle for " the right." 

An aged citizen of Mai-shall County, Tennessee, often described 
the appearance of his own father and James Ilaynes, both prisoners 
in the hands of the British the night after Gen. Davidson's death at 



H8 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Cowan's Ford. He saw these aged raen and many other prisoners 
driven like sheep into a corn-crib, the door of which was filled with 
rails, and a sentinel placed over it ; and thus without blanket or 
fire, they passed a long winter night in 1781. 

The venerable Mrs. Haynes survived her husband but a short 
time. True to the principles of her faith, upon her dying bed she 
gave to each of her children her parting words of advice with one of 
the religious books contained in her library. To her son John, she ' 
gave the Westminster Confession of Faith ; to another, Banyan's 
Pilgrim's Progress ; to a third, Flavel, etc., works usually found in 
that day in the library of every Christian. She died about the year 
1790. 

Her husband was no less stern and inflexible in his religious prin- 
ciples. When the question of the introduction of the new version 
of the Psalms was agitated in the Church at Centre Meeting-House, 
after much debate, it was put to the vote, and Haynes was left 
alone as the advocate of the old version. His brethren tauntingly 
asked him if he was going to stand out alone. He replied, " yes, as 
lon<? as the world stands ; " and so he did to the end of his life. 

O ' 

A rude and humble stone now marks the last resting place of 
both, at their own home, near Centre Meeting-House, Iredell County, 
N". C., where, more than .a century ago, they sat down amidst the 
dim solitudes of the western wilderness. The old homestead is now 
the residence of James Sloan, a relative of the family. 

The three sons, Joseph,. John and James, and the son-in-law, Capt. 
Scott, bore arms against the Cherokees, and against the British and 
loyalists. They were brave young men, of active habits, and accus- 
tomed to hard service ; rode much about the country, and were 
always ready for any enterprise requiring toil and exposure, or skill 
and daring. In proportion as they made themselves useful to the 
whig party, they were of course persecuted by the loyalists. Their 
irregular life in military service never caused them to do aught con- 
trary to the strict principles of their faith ; they never travelled, ex- 
cept when rigid necessity required it, on the Sabbath, being Puritans 
enough to look upon profanity and Sabbath-breaking with as much 



ANN HAYNES. 149 

abhorrence as upon horse stealing. They served John bearing a 
prominent part in the first battle fought in North Carolina in which 
the whigs were victorious, after the suspension of hostilities succeed- 
ing the fall of Charleston ; that of Ramsour's Mill, in Lincoln County.* 

Capt. Scott, the son-in-law of Mrs. Haynes, was killed at Cowan's 
Ford, at the same time with Gen. Davidson, who had been stationed 
there by Gen. Greene, with a small force, to delay the passage of the 
British army across the Catavvba. Joseph Ilaynes barely escaped * 
with his life in this action. Soon after, the British passing, as already 
mentioned, near the house of the elder James Haynes, stopped and 
plundered it, took him prisoner, and boasted in the hearing of his 
family, that they had killed his son-in-law at the Ford, hinting that 
his sons also were either killed or captured. The old man was over 
sixty, and m feeble health ; his venerable appearance and Quaker 
habiliments should have secured their respect, but the crime of send- 
ing so many brave sons to battle was not to be forgiven. Family tra- 
dition, confirmed by the recollection of his daughter-in-law, states that 
they pulled off his coat, overcoat, and silver knee and shoe-buckles, 
and made him dismount and walk on through mud and water, urged 
forward by the prick of bayonets ; also that the news of his capture 
and the pillaging of his house was carried to his sons by his daugh- 
ter Hannah, who made her way through bypaths for forty miles, 
eluding the marauding parties scattered through the country, to the 
American army. Her brothel's immediately set off in pursuit, found 
their father at length by the roadside, watched over by a wounded 
American soldier, and conveyed him home. 

Another adventure is remembered, in which John Haynes figured, 
during that memorable retreat of Gen. Greene. ' He was sent as a 
scout, with three others, to give notice of the approach of Tarleton's 
dragoons. While posted on a hill they were suddenly startled by 
the appearance of a squadron of his light horse turning round a 
clump of trees close at hand, with the design of cutting off their 

* A description of this battle, communicated by a southern gentleman, has 
been rendered superfluous by the very full and graphic account contained in 
Mr. Wheeler's excellent History of North Carolina, recently published. 



150 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

retreat. The only point left open was a lane, a mile or so long, 
through a wide plantation. The four whigs instantly commenced 
the race, closely pursued by the British dragoons with their drawn 
sabres, the parties near enough to hear each other's voices the roy- 
alists calling upon the rebel squad to surrender, and now and then 
discharging a pistol to enforce the order. The hindmost fugitive, 
one George Locke, was at length cut down by a sabre-stroke, and 
'killed ; the others, hotly pursued, reached the end of the lane, and 
instantly turned into the thick woods, where they could ride with 
ease, being practised woodsmen, while the progress of the heavy- 
armed dragoons of Tarleton was retarded. As they dashed into the 
cover, they discharged their pistols over their shoulders, killing the 
leading horseman, a subaltern, who had the moment before cut 
down their companion, and was almost in the act of performing the 
same office for them. Fearing an ambuscade, the party hastily re- 
treated, leaving the body of the subaltern where he fell. His uni- 
form was taken off by a negro, and often worn by him after the 
close of the war. 

In his advanced age John Haynes often amused his friends by 
recounting this and other anecdotes of races with the British troop- 
ers. On one occasion he was alone, hemmed in by pursuing horse- 
men, and driven to the banks of Candle Creek, at a point where the 
height of the banks and the width of the channel seemed to pre- 
clude all hope of escape. Being well mounted and a fearless rider, 
he dashed to the stream, his enemies close upon him with drawn 
sabres, cleared the creek at a bound, and was safe from his pursuers 
who dared not make the leap. 

The two other sons, Joseph and James, were with Gates and 
Greene, and in many of the most trying scenes of the war. Joseph 
was one of the first who broke the cane and hunted the buffalo in 
the valley of Duck River, Tennessee. He was a brave soldier and 
an ardent patriot. It was his boast, that of all his kinsmen who 
were able to bear arms, there was not one who did not fight on the 
side of the Republic. He survived most of them who served with 
him, and after a long and useful life in tjie land to which he had 



ANJN HAYXKS. 151 

gone as a pioneer, he died in July 1845, at his residence on Silver 
Creek, Maury County, Tennessee, in the 96th year of his age. 

His brother John was born in a fort or station in the valley of the 
Catawba, where his family had taken shelter from the incursions of 
the Cherokee Indians in 1759. All three brothers with their fami- 
lies emigrated to Tennessee in the beginning of the present century, 
and established themselves in the southern part of Middle Ten- 
nessee. 

John Haynes and his sons opened the road from the north side 
of Duck Eiver, near Cany Spring, to the south side of Elk-ridge, 
where Cornersville now stands. Here father and sons opened farms, 
aided in erecting churches and school-houses, and soon found them- 
selves surrounded by crowds of emigrants from Carolina and Vir- 
ginia. They never forgot the precepts of their venerable ancestor, nor 
neglected their duty to pander to the taste of a less rigidly moral 
population. John lived to the age of seventy-seven, and kept his char- 
acter for rapid riding to the last. It was often averred by his friends 
that he never rode in a walk, but always in a gallop. He died in 1838, 
but his widow, Margaret Haynes, survived him many years, dying 
the 3rd July, 1851, at the residence of her son, James S. Haynes, 
Esq., in her 88th year. Even at that advanced age, she retained 
her physical and intellectual faculties so perfectly, as to render her 
reminiscences of the times of peril and bloodshed both reliable and 
interesting. She remembered to have heard llev. James McCree 
preach the funeral of Gen. Davidson at Centre meeting-house soon 
after the war, at which were present more than a dozen widows of 
those who had fallen in defence of their country. Her chief em- 
ployment was reading religious books and studying the Scriptures. 
She gave food to the hungry and clothing to the needy, encourag- 
ing, reproving, and admonishing those around her, and diligently 
following every good work. 

There were other children, daughters of James and Ann llayn-s, 
who married worthy men in Rowan and Mecklenburg, North Caro- 
lina, where most of them continued to live. Their descendants are 
now widely scattered tliruu^li (lie \Vest and South, probably mini- 



152 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bering three or four hundred, and many of them have been active 
in the service of their country. Several were engaged in the war 
of 1812 ; others subsequently in the Florida or Seminole war, and 
in the recent war with Mexico ; Milton A. Haynes being a subal- 
tern in the Florida war, and a Captain of Tennessee Volunteers in 
the Mexican war, and two of his brothers serving as subalterns. 
One of them lost his life in the service. The Rev. Cyrus Haynes, 
of Illinois, and the Rev. John Haynes of Mississippi, are the grand- 
sons, and several other respectable clergymen of different States are 
descendants of the subject of this sketch. 



VIII. 

RUTH SPARKS. 

RUTH SEVIER was the second daughter of Gen. John Sevier, by his 
second marriage with Catharine Sherrill. She was born the precise 
date is not known at Plum Grove, their residence on the Nola- 
chucka in that part of North Carolina now known as East Tennessee, 
those settlements then forming the extreme borders of the country 
inhabited by civilized Americans. 

During some five and twenty years, the greater part of the time 
from 1769 to 1796, the settlers as it has been seen were troubled 
more or less every year by Indian depredators, and murders and 
bloody battles were common occurrences. It cannot be wondered 
at that females born and reared in the midst of such perils should 
be imbued with a sturdy courage, and a self-reliance acquired only 
by familiar acquaintance with danger and hardship. Boldness and 
force of character might be expected, with the occasional manifesta- 
tion of a daring more than feminine, and a love of wild and roman- 
tic adventure ; while the cultivation of the gentler graces, and tlm 
refinement which is such an ornament to womanhood, might be sup- 
posed to be frequently neglected. It will not be rational, therefore, 
for modern judgment to condemn too rigidly what in the manners 
of that period did not accord with the ideas of etiquette in vogue at 
the present day. The heart and the morals of our ancestors were 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

uncorrupted, and we should not mark for disapproval their non- 
observance of external properties. " Times change, and we change 
with them," is an admitted truth ; whether for the better or not, 
perhaps it would not be easy to decide. 

Throughout Western Virginia and North Carolina but few oppor- 
tunities or advantages were then offered for the education of children, 
and the duty of instructing them, particularly daughters, devolved 
chiefly upon the mothers among the frontier settlers. This duty 
was in general attended to as diligently as circumstances permitted, 
and women who had themselves enjoyed in a very limited degree 
the privilege of schooling, but had graduated under the rough but 
thorough tutoring of hard experience, did not often fail to impart to 
their little ones, with a portion of their own energy, perseverance, 
and spirit of enterprise, such a knowledge of practical matters at 
least, as proved sufficient for all purposes of life. Often too, they 
incited their children to avail themselves of opportunities presented 
to acquire even what might be termed learning. Such training had 
the parents of our heroine, and such they gave her ; and thus with- 
out any regular schooling, she made rapid attainments, having been 
gifted by nature with a powerful and active mind, a ready appre- 
hension, and great energy and strength of purpose. The condition 
of society in those unsettled and eventful times, and the stirring inci- 
dents in which her parents and their associates were continually 
forced to participate, had also much effect in forming her character, 
imparting a force, decision, and promptness which she might not 
otherwise have possessed. 

During the Indian ware in which Gen. Sevier commanded the 
troops and was the leader in so many expeditions and successful 
encounters, being acknowledged as "the friend and protector of the 
exposed settlements," Ruth evinced a strong interest in the history 
and character of those warlike tribes. She learned not only the 
names of the chiefs, but of many of the common warriors. Some 
of them she saw at her father's house in the intervals of peace, and 
aviiilcd herself of the . opportunity to become well acquainted with 
them, and acquire a knowledge of their manners and customs. She 



RUTH SPARKS. 155 

manifested a particular curiosity to learn as much as possible of their 
mode of living and domestic habits. All the information she sought 
was readily communicated to her by the Indians, who were influ- 
enced by grateful feelings towards her father for his generous kind- 
ness to the friendly savages who had visited him, and to some thirty 
prisoners whom he brought to his house and took care of liber- 
ally at his own expense. These had been selected from about one 
hundred captives taken in the year 1781. Ten of these thirty re- 
mained for three years at the residence of Gen. Sevier. Ruth was 
a great favorite with them all, and not only learned the Cherokee 
language, but so completely won the regard of every one of them, 
that on their return to the nation they named her to the chiefs and 
warriors with such expressions of commendation as amounted to a 
pledge of safety to the family, in case of any future difficulty, to be 
considered more sacred than the guarantee extended to other set- 
tlers. The kindness shown by " Nolachucka Jack " and his wife to 
the captives and other Indians, was mentioned the more frequently, 
as it gave occasion to speak of " Chucka's Rutha." " She will be 
chief's wife some day," was the prediction of many. 

Mrs. Sevier had been accustomed to place much confidence in her 
friends among the children of the forest, which she never found be- 
trayed. While the captives were at her house she permitted the 
Indian girls to play with Ruth and accompany her in errands and 
visits to the neighbors. The watchful solicitude they manifested at 
all times for her safety, and their desiro to please her by any little 
service in their power, convinced the mother that the little girl WM-* 
entirely secure in their company, while the unlimited trust she 
placed in the savages was returned on their part by gratitude, and 
a determination to merit her kindly regard. Thus, prisoners as they 
were, they lived contented and happy, bound to their host moro 
strongly than bonds or imprisonment could have fettered them. 
The effect of these mutual good offices was seen long afterwards, and 
repeatedly acknowledged in various negotiations and treaties, where 
the presence and " talks" of Gen. Sevier exercised a decisive influence 



156 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

in persuading the savages to accede to the wishes of the whites for 
rhe extension of boundaries and the promotion of peace. 

Many instances are mentioned which caused alarm to the family 
of Gen. Sevier and the settlers living on the Nolachucka, in which 
Ruth's courage and spirit were of service. Once she gave notice of 
the approach of tories in time for her mother to have the most 
valuable articles removed from the house, and concealed in an old 
lime-kiln. On another occasion, while playing or bathing in the 
stream with one of the captive Indian girls, she fancied she saw 
enemies lurking near the banks, and hastened to give warning. 
Once an attempt to cross the river with the same or another Indian 
maiden, had nearly proved a fatal experiment, when two young men 
of the same band of Cherokee captives, came unexpectedly to their 
relief. Ruth learned in her earliest childhood to shoot well with the 
musket and rifle, and could take a surer aim than many an ordinary 
huntsman. 

The prediction of the Indians that " Chucka's Rutha" would 
become the wife of a chief was fulfilled singularly enough, as we 
proceed to explain. In the early settlement of Kentucky, when 
violent and destructive attacks were made on the settlements dur- 
ing frequent incursions by the tribes living north of the Ohio river, 
a number of children had been captured, and for the most part 
carried off to the Indian villages near the Lakes. Among others 
thus taken, was a child four years of age, who was either captured 
or purchased by one of the principal chiefs of the Shawanese, upon 
the head waters of the Scioto River. This Indian had two sons 
nearly of the same age with the youthful captive, who was adopted 
as a third son, and immediately placed with them as a companion 
and brother, rather than as a slave, being treated with unusual 
kindness and indulgence. He received a new name on his adop- 
tion Shawtunte a cognomen which was changed after his release 
for that of Richard Sparks ; though whether the latter was his true 
and original name or not, we have no means of ascertaining. His 
Indian playmates were Tecumseh, and his elder brother the Prophet. 
Both these were afterwards well known as chiefs of power and 



RUTH SPARKS. 157 

influence, and as resolute and dangerous enemies of the United 
States. Tecumseh was ambitious, bold and energetic, and withal 
of a more amiable disposition than his brother ; but neither, of them 
was deficient in the qualities necessary to form the brave and 
successful warrior. By their enterprise and exertions the plan was 
organized for an extensive combination among the tribes of the 
West and Northwest, including some of the Southwest, for the pur- 
pose of a general war upon the Americans. This mischievous con- 
spiracy among the tribes was got up chiefly through the influence 
of agents of the British government, and threatened a vast amount 
of misery and bloodshed to the extensive and exposed American 
settlements on the frontier. The confederacy was broken up by the 
victories gained by Gen. Harrison at the battle of Tippecanoe, 
Nov. 6th, 1811, and upon the Miami River, followed by that of the 
Thames, Oct. 5th, 1813. The British Government had conferred 
upon Tecumseh the commission of a Major General. He lost his 
life in the battle of the Thames. 

To return to Shawtunte. He remained in the family of Tecum- 
seh about twelve years, till he was sixteen years old, acquiring the 
habits of the Indians, and becoming a proficient in their language ; 
for he had, indeed, little knowledge of any other. Some time before 
the victories of Gen. Wayne over the Indians on the Miamies, 
gained in 1794, he was exchanged or released, and having bid 
adieu to his Indian friends, returned to Kentucky. Thence he 
proceeded to the settlements on the Holston and Nolachucka. 
His relatives did not recognize him, particularly as he could not 
speak English. His mother only knew him by a mark she 
remembered. 

Having heard of Gen. Sevier, and being inspired with profound 
respect for one who had obtained so high a reputation as a military 
officer, he ventured at length to seek his acquaintance. The 
General became deeply interested in the history of the young man, 
and was anxious to obtain from him some account that could be 
depended on, of the numbers and disposition of the northern tribes 
of Indians. He desired also an accurate description of -the country 



158 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

stretching between the Ohio and the Lakes, over much of which 
Shawtunte had passed in his various travels while domesticated 
among the savages. He was quite willing to gratify his friend by 
stories of Indian life and adventure, and his accounts of the perils 
and hardships he had encountered in his sojourn in the wilderness, 
awakened the lively sympathy of his auditor. It may be supposed 
that the General was not the only listener on such occasions, to these 
tales of ad venture wilder than romance, as he had without hesitation 
admitted Shawtunte to the acquaintance and hospitality of his fam- 
ily. The interest expressed in fair faces at his narration, could not 
fail to encourage vivid details of *' most disastrous chances, 

Of moving accidents by flood and field," 

such as might well enchain the hearing of those who had seen 
enough of Indian life to take an interest in all that concerned their 
savage neighbors. As an evidence of his regard, Gen. Sevier pro- 
mised to exert his influence in procuring him a military appointment; 
and did so with such good effect that he was honored with a cap- 
tain's commission. He performed service as a spy, and it is said 
was very useful in Gen. Wayne's army ; also, that he stood high as 
an officer and a gentleman. Meanwhile he had been aiming at a 
conquest of another sort in the family of the Governor-General, 
having become deeply enamored of his fair daughter, Ruth. Her 
appearance at this time is described as being very prepossessing. 
In symmetry of form and grace of attitude she was unrivalled. It 
was said, " she was never in the least awkward ; she never sat, 
stood, or walked, but with a natural ease and grace that was perfect; 
and she was always a figure for a painter." She had regular and 
delicate features, with a complexion extremely fair, blue eyes, and a 
chiselled mouth, expressive of' intelligence and lively humor. Her 
personal attractions were enhanced by a cheerful and sociable dispo- 
sition, a self-possessed and unembarrassed manner, and a faculty of 
accommodating herself to any situation or circumstances, with 
powers of entertaining conversation which made her society sought 



KUTH SPARKS. 159 

eagerly by both sexes. It will not be wondered at that she never 
failed to make an impression, or that she was an acknowledged 
centre of attraction ; yet as she was entirely free from vanity or 
arrogance, and seemed animated not so much by a love of display 
as by a cheerful and kindly spirit, and a desire to enjoy and contri- 
bute to the enjoyment of others, she was not so much envied as 
loved. 

It may seem strange enough that the affections of a creature so 
lovely and accomplished, should be bestowed on one as untutored as 
the wild Indian ; but so it was, notwithstanding the difference be- 
tween them in education and manners, station and prospects in life. 
At the time of his marriage with the Governor's daughter, the liber- 
ated captive was wholly unlettered, not knowing how to read or 
write. His youthful and charming bride became his teacher, and 
he soon made such proficiency, that " he might have passed toler- 
ably in an examination of boys in the spelling-book." His attain- 
ments, however, were not such as to enable him to spell or read 
with perfect correctness, or to write with elegance, when he was 
promoted to the rank of colonel in- the United States army, and 
was ordered to Fort Pickering, on the Mississippi. Here he was 
stationed in 1801-2. This military station, now the beautiful and 
flourishing city of Memphis, was established on the borders of the 
territory of the Chickasaw Indians, as a link in the chain of military 
defences on the waters- of the great river, for the purpose of preserv- 
ing peace with the- savage nation, and protecting emigration. The 
purchase of Louisiana followed soon after, and Col. Sparks proceeded 
with his regiment to New Orleans when the country was given into 
the possession of the American government. After this he was sta- 
tioned for a short time at Baton Rouge, and for a longer period at 
Fort Adams, in the Mississippi territory. Mrs. Sparks accompanied 
her husband to each of these places, and remained as long as it was 
his duty to stay at the post. She always performed the duty of his 
secretary, keeping his accounts, writing his letters, and making out 
his reports to superior officers and the War Department. 

In Natchez and other towns where there was anything that could 



160 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

be called society, the claims of Mrs. Sparks to the respect and admi- 
ration of social circles, did not fail to be recognized ; she was, indeed, 
" the cynosure of neighboring eyes," and her influence became very 
extensive. During her residence in Louisiana and at Fort Adams, 
several of the Choctaws were in the habit of calling almost daily at 
her house, to bring 'venison and wild turkeys or ducks, receiving in 
recompense some token of remembrance from the " tyke, (wife) of 
Shawtunte," for they had learned the history of Col. Sparks, and 
knew his Indian name ; also that Mrs. Sparks was the daughter of 
a warrior whose deeds were well known, and whose bravery was 
highly esteemed by the southern tribes of Indians. 

After a residence of some ten years in the Southern military Dis- 
trict, the health of Col. Sparks became so infirm, that he was induced, 
by the earnest advice of Gen. Sevier, to send an application to the 
War Department, in consequence of which he was permitted to 
return to Tennessee. Thence he proceeded to Staunton, in Virginia, 
at which place, or in its vicinity, he died, about 1815. During this 
'last visit to Tennessee, he passed through Nashville and Gallatin, 
remaining some days, and recounted some of the events of his cap- 
tivity to persons who called upon him and Mrs. Sparks. Among 
these was Thomas Washington, Esq., who is still living in Nashville, 
and remembers many incidents. The gentleman to whom I am in- 
debted for this memoir, obtained many of the particulars from Mrs. 
Sparks herself, and from her brother, who was from early youth an 
officer in the army ; while her sister, the widow of Maj. William 
M'Clelland, of the United States' army, who now resides at Van 
Buren, in Arkansas, confirms every statement. Some of the records 
pertaining to this portion of the family history, are in the Historical 
Society library at Nashville. 

The father of Mrs. Sparks has been mentioned as " the Governor," 
although the period alluded to was before the organization of the 
State of Tennessee. This honorable title had been appropriated to 
him as governor of the " State of Frankland," from the year 1*784 to 
1788. When Tennessee was admitted into the Union, he became 



KUTH SPARKS. 161 

her first governor, holding that office, with an interval of only two 
years, for more than eleven years. 

Mrs. Sparks entered into a second marriage with an intelligent 
and wealthy planter of Mississippi. Her residence was a beautiful 
and highly improved country seat, within view of the town of Port 
Gibson, in Mississippi, and the splendid hospitality so remarkable on 
these secluded plantations, was duly exercised at " Burlington," where 
there was a continual succession of visitors. The fair mistress of this 
stately abode was distinguished by the same cheerfulness, genial kind- 
ness and attention to her guests as in her more youthful years. She 
was a model housewife, and everything about her establishment was 
always in perfect order. In the summer of 1824, while on a visit 
to some friends at Maysville, Kentucky, her useful life was termi- 
nated, her faith in the Redeemer growing brighter as the final scene 
' approached. She never had any children, but was at all times ex 
tremely fond of them, and particularly pleased with the society of 
young persons, who always manifested a strong attachment for her. 



IX 

SARAH SHELBY. 

SARAH, already mentioned as the eldest daughter of Mrs. Bledsoe, 
was born in the first year of the first settlement of Tennessee. She 
was very young when her family removed from Fort Chissel, Vir- 
ginia, to East Tennessee. Their residence was then on the frontier, 
near the island flats, in what is now Sullivan County. Her early 
education was excellent, considering the circumstances of location 
and the want of the advantages of instruction which could be en- 
joyed in older communities. She attended the first and only lessons 
in dancing, given in 1784, not long before her marriage, at the house 
of Mr. Harris, twelve miles from Col. Bledsoe's residence. The 
teacher was Capt. Barrett, an English officer who had served under 
the royal banner in the war of the Revolution, and then left the 
service, determined to cast his lot for the rest of his days with the 
brave republicans against whose liberties he had fought. It was 
among the singular vicissitudes of life, that a loyal captain who in 
all probability had served under Col. Ferguson at the battle of 
King's Mountain, battling to the death against the Tennessee 
mountaineers, should be found afterwards in the wilderness giving 
lessons to their daughters in this graceful accomplishment ! The 
gentleman who furnishes this memoir quaintly observes, that " not 



SARAH SHELBY* 1C3 

being able to make the fathers run, he was content with making the 
daughters dance." 

While the family still lived in Sullivan County, Miss Bledsoe was 
married, in 1784, to David Shelby. Soon after, the young couple, 
with Col. Bledsoe and his family, came and fixed their homes in the 
midst of the wilderness of the Cumberland Valley, which Bledsoe 
and his brother had explored in 1779. The journey by land at that 
time from East Tennessee was a difficult and perilous one, across 
mountains and through forests and canebrakes, where it was im- 
possible to force a wagon. Every article carried had to be packed 
on horses. 

The families who formed this pioneer settlement in the Cumber- 
land Valley were not destitute of means to live comfortably in a 
region where the necessaries and comforts of life could be procured, 
but isolated as they were from all advantages of communication 
or interchange with the friends they had left, they were thrown 
entirely upon the resources of their own labor and ingenuity. Their 
dwellings were rude cabins made of logs, sometimes rough and 
sometimes hewn. For protection against the Indians a number of 
these cabins were surrounded by pickets bullet-proof, and several 
families, usually related to each other, or attached as old neighbors, 
lived within the fenced space. Sometimes the pioneers resided in 
the blockhouses, built in the salient points of these picketed enclo- 
sures. The upper story of these blockhouses projected over the 
lower one, with portholes in the floor, so that persons within might 
shoot an assailant who approached too near under cover of the pro- 
jection. The term u station," in the frontier vocabulary of those 
times, meant a blockhouse, picketed so as to shelter several families. 
It was usually called by the name of the builder or the owner of the 
land as "Buchanan's Station," &c. Some-, however, were known 
by more fanciful designations, as " Bledsoe's- Lick," " French 
Lick," etc. 

It has been already stated that at the time of Col. Bledsoe's 
exploration of the Cumberland Valley, no white man lived within 
the limits of Tennessee, west of the mountains, except a few French 



164: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

traders who had become naturalized among the Indians. After the 
removal of the family they suffered many hardships, which pressed 
most heavily upon the women, while shut up within military de- 
fences in the midst of the forest. No supplies of groceries or dry 
goods could be obtained in the valley, and all the clothing worn by 
the pioneers, male and female, was of home manufacture. Not one 
of the females was exempted from this labor ; all learned how to 
spin and weave, and it was the pride and glory of these stout- 
hearted dames to prepare the material and make up with their own 
hands the clothes worn by themselves, their husbands and children. 
Col. Bledsoe was attired in a full suit manufactured by his wife and 
daughters, when he represented the Cumberland Valley in the Legis- 
lature of North Carolina. 

All articles of consumption which could not be procured in the 
woods or raised on their plantations, were very scarce. Salt could 
only be obtained by tedious and dangerous journeys to the Kanawha 
salt works in Virginia, or to some French salt works in Illinois, then 
a part of Louisiana. Imported sugar, coffee and tea were almost 
excluded from use among the families in the valley, by the expense 
and difficulty of procuring them. For the first two or three years, 
before the dangers in the midst of which they lived, permitted them 
to cultivate the soil to any extent, even bread was scarcely to be had. 
The rifle of the pioneer procured for his family venison, bear's meat 
and wild turkeys, as well as protected them from Indian marauders. 
A little sugar was made every spring from the maple trees, which 
grew in great abundance in the untrodden forest. For this purpose 
large parties of old and young, male and female, when they had 
fixed upon a convenient location, assembled and bivouacked, or 
" camped," to use their own phrase, in the woods near the grove of 
maples, which were soon notched and pierced. The sap was caught 
in small troughs dug out with an axe, and carried to the camp, 
where it was boiled down in large pots. In two or three days thus 
spent, sugar enough was often produced to furnish a year's supply for 
a family, and the occasion did not fail to afford opportunity for a 
rustic re-union for all the young people of the neighborhood. 



SAKAH SHELBY. 165 

Nothing was known at that time of the culture of cotton. Flax 
was grown, however, and the prettiest girls in the valley hatchelled, 
spun and wove it ; the forest trees and shrubs yielding ample materials 
for dye-stuffs, by which a variety of colors might be furnished for 
ball or bridal costume for the fairest demoiselles of the new colony. 
A beautiful scarlet was produced from sassafras and sumach, and the 
walnut furnished a bright brown, of which color were dyed the 
jeans which formed full suits, elegant enough for the gentlemen's 
holiday wearing. This material, made in old style, is still a favorite 
in all the rural districts of Tennessee, the process of its manufacture 
having been taught, as a hereditary art, by mother to daughter, 
from generation to generation. 

If we may rely upon tradition, the women whose time was thus 
passed exclusively in useful occupations, and whose labors demanded 
continual exercise, were superior in personal beauty to their paler 
and more luxurious descendants. Be that as it may, their ideas of 
feminine accomplishment and female merit were certainly different 
from those of modern days. A young woman then prided herself, 
not on finery purchased with the labor of others, but on the number 
of hanks of thread she could spin, or yards she could weave in a day 
on a rustic loom, made, perhaps, by her father or brother. Many a 
maiden whose father could reckon his acres of land in the wilderness 
by thousands, has appeared at church or at a country assembly, 
dressed from head to foot in articles manufactured entirely by her- 
self, and looking as bright and lovely in her gay colors as the proud- 
est city dame who could lay the looms of India under contribution. 

Mrs. Shelby's husband was the first merchant in Nashville, and 
perhaps in middle Tennessee. He established himself as such in 
1790, and after two or three years, removed to Sumner County, 
where he was appointed to the office of clerk, the first chosen in the 
county. This office he continued to hold, residing in Gallatin, till 
his death in 1819. He maintained throughout life a high and ho- 
norable position among the settlers of the Valley, possessing qualities 
of mind and heart which would have commanded success and en- 
ured usefulness in the most eminent station to which a republican 



166 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

could have aspired, in the new State which he and his family aided 
in building up. But he was not ambitious, and preferred retirement 
in the bosom of his family, and the unostentatious discharge of the 
duties of an humble office, husbanding the resources he possessed 
for the purpose of giving his children a substantial education, and 
fitting them for lives of usefulness. 

Mrs. Shelby has frequently mentioned incidents that occurred on 
different occasions when she and her husband were compelled to fly 
from Indians, and narrowly escaped destruction. At one time the 
savages came to the block-house where she lived, and attempted to 
shoot through a crack in the chimney. It happened that Mrs. 
Shelby, feeling a presentiment of danger, had stopped the crevice 
on the inside by a plank, which the bullets could not penetrate with- 
out having their deadly force spent. The savages were around the 
house during the night, as was discovered by their tracks about the 
place, and the finding of several articles belonging to them, such as 
pipes, moccasins, etc. 

The day after the death of Col. Anthony Bledsoe, Mrs. Shelby 
went with her husband, son and servants to Bledsoe's Lick, to attend 
his funeral, although the distance was ten miles, and it was known 
the Indians were in the forest. The son, now Dr. Shelby, of Nash- 
ville, remembers that his father went in advance, armed with a rifle 
and holsters, his mother next, and that he followed with a negro, 
who also carried a rifle. 

In 1788, while living on Station Camp Creek, in Simmer County, 
Mrs. Shelby was one day at home with only her little children. As 
usual in the early settlements, they lived in a log cabin, in which 
open places between the logs served the place of windows. Her 
husband was in the fields, some distance from the house. While 
seated by the fire she was startled by the appearance of an Indian 
warrior, fully armed, approaching her cabin. Quick as thought, 
she took down a loaded rifle that hung on the wall, and whispered 
to her son, then only sSx years old, to go out by the back door, and 
run into the field for l?is father, which he did quietly, but with all 
speed. Then placing herself near the door, she put the muzzle of 



SAKAH SHELBY. 167 

the rifle through a crack in the wall, and stood, with her finger on 
the trigger, ready to shoot the Indian as he came near, approaching 
the door. Just at the moment when Mrs. Shelby was about to 
shoot, with deadly aim, the savage saw the gun, and with hasty 
strides retreated to the woods. Thus the heroism of the matron 
saved not only her own life, but the lives of several small children. 
Soon after the retreat of the Indian, Mr. Shelby and his son reached 
the house, to embrace the heroic wife and mother, who still stood 
with the rifle in her hands. 

The history of Mrs. Shelby and her family, if properly given, would 
embrace almost the entire history of Tennessee ; nor would it be 
possible to offer anything like an adequate sketch of the founders of 
the colony of Cumberland Valley, without writing in detail the his- 
tory of that eventful period. This may be done by some future his- 
torian, the scope of whose work will permit him to do full justice to 
the patient and self-denying toil, and the heroic deeds of those en- 
terprising pioneers. Whenever this is done, the names of Bledsoe, 
Shelby, Sevier, Kobertson, Buchanan, Rains, and Wilson, cannot fail 
to shine forth prominently in the picture. These men were neither 
refugees from justice, nor outlaws from civilization, but belonged to 
a band of patriots who came, Hke Hooker, Haynes, or Roger Wil- 
liams, to set up the altar of freedom, and find a home in primeval 
forests, beyond the reach of oppression, where they might live inde- 
pendently, and in time happily. They came not, as they knev v , to 
an ideal paradise, or happy valley, but to a dreary wilderness, where 
a thousand perils environed them ; beyond the paternal care of either 
state or federal government ; harassed from time to time by a savage 
foe ; destitute of regular supplies of provisions or munitions of war ; 
depending for subsistence on the forest and the small patches of 
cornfield they were able to cultivate in the intervals of Indian cam- 
paigns ; a mere handful of men, with a few helpless women and 
children, and equally dependent slaves ; yet they kept their ground, 
and year by year increased in numbers and strength, till after a 
struggle of fifteen years against fearful odds of Indian enemies, the 
colony numbered from seven to eight thousand ! During all this time 



108 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of trial, the armed occupation was maintained with toil and blood- 
shed, both of men and women, who showed, in times of emergency, 
that they, to'o, possessed the lion will and the lion heart. Thrilling 
was the story of their adventures, with which, in after years, they 
held their listeners spell-bound ; and far surpassing the wildest ro- 
mance were their homely but interesting narratives, glowing in the 
warm coloring of life. They told 

c: How oft at night 

Their sleep was broke by sudden fright, 
Of Indian whoop and cruel knife 
To spill the blood of babe and wife ; 
How prowling wolves and hungry bears 
Increased their dangers and their cares; 
How bold and strong these pilgrims were 
That feared not Indian, wolf, or bear; 
By sickness pressed, by want beset, 
Each ill they braved, each danger met; 
7 JMidst want and war their sinews grew, etc." 

Among the- women of this period, remembered particularly for 
the energy and cheerful self-denial with which they aided the hardy 
pioneers, encouraging and animating them, while sharing in their 
labors, none did her part more nobly, with more womanly grace as 
well as firmness and resolution, than Mrs. Shelby. Her memory 
preserved to an advanced age every prominent incident connected 
with the settlement of East Tennessee and of the Cumberland Val- 
ley. Every part of the State, within her recollection, was a wilder- 
ness. Having lived through the border troubles and succeeding 
years of change, having survived the slaughter of her nearest rela- 
tives by the murderous Cherokees and marauding Creeks and Sha- 
wanese, she lived to see that helpless and bleeding colony of the 
Watauga, increase and multiply and grow up in the midst of the 
receding forest to a goodly State it may be said, a nation. 

This venerable matron died on the llth of March, 1852, in the 
eighty-sixth year of her age. She was in her usual health, and 
occupied with her needle, only three days before her death. She 



SAEAH SHELBY. 169 

had long been a member of the Episcopal church, and gave up her 
spirit to God with Christian resignation, leaving an affectionate circle 
of her children and descendants to mourn her departure. 

She had been in the habit of going to visit her relatives in the 
old county where she formerly resided. The fourth of July, -1851, 
was kept by a number of aged pioneers in Sumner, assembled to 
dine together, and many were the interesting recollections called up 
on that occasion. 

After 1832, Mi's. Shelby's residence was with her son, Dr. Shelby 
at his beautiful country-seat, " Faderland," in the vicinity of Nasl 
ville, now almost surrounded by the new town of Edgefield. It \v 
a pleasure to her to receive and converse with all interested in tho 
early history of Tennessee, and she presented in her own bearing 
and character a noble example of the heroines of those times of 
trial. The laborious, painful, and perilous experiences of her life 
withal, never marred the harmony of her nature ; and in advanced 
age she had the contented and cheerful spirit of one whose days 
have glided away in undisturbed tranquillity. She was a deeply 
spiritual Christian, engaged continually, as far as her strength per- 
mitted, in the dispensation of charities, and exhibiting to those who 
knew her, the beauty of an humble and earnest "walk by faith." 

Her husband, David Shelby, died in 1822, leaving several children, 
who were reared to sustain their part with usefulness in the arena of 
life, and in the midst of difficulties to exhibit the same energy and 
patience which had distinguished their parents. Judge Shelby, of 
Texas, was one of these children. John, the eldest son, was the first 
white child born in Sumner County, and is one of the oldest and 
worthiest citizens of Nashville. He determined in youth to 
study medicine, and was sent to Philadelphia to have the advan- 
tage of instruction under the celebrated Dr. Rush. He settled early 
in Nashville, where for many years he devoted himself successfully 
to the practice of his profession, being also occupied in the manage- 
ment of a large private business, in taking care of his town pro- 
perty. In 1813, he was a volunteer under Jackson, in the Creek 
war, and received a wound in the eye in the battle of Enotochopco. 
8 



170 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Though holding the office of surgeon in the army, he took an active 
part in rallying and leading the troops in this memorable action, 
and in acknowledgement of his services was honorably mentioned by 
the General. 

He is now sixty-seven years of age, and after an arduous and 
well spent life, is still able to perform the duties of a responsible 
office, and to manage the business of a large farm. One of his 
daughters is the wife of the Hon. George Washington Barrow, late 
representative in Congress for the Nashville District, and during the 
years 1841-5, Charge d' Affaires to the court of Portugal. An- 
other daughter is Mrs. Priscilla Williams, now residing at Memphis, 
Tennessee. 



REBECCA WILLIAMS. 

WALTER SCOTT'S Rebecca the Jewess was not more celebrated for 
her medical skill and success in treating wounds than was Rebecca 
Williams among the honest borderers of the Ohio river. She was 
the daughter of Joseph Tomlinson, and was born the 14th .of Feb- 
ruary, 1754, at Will's Creek, on the Potomac, in the province of 
Maryland. She married John Martin, a trader among the Indians, 
who was killed in 1770 on the Big Hockhocking by the Shawanees, 
one of her uncles being killed at the same time. In the first year 
of her widowhood, Mrs. Martin removed with her father's family to 
Grave Creek, and resided near its entrance into the Ohio, keeping 
house for her two brothers. She would remain alone for weeks 
together while they were absent on hunting excursions ; for she had 
little knowledge of fear, and was young and sprightly in disposition. 
In the spring of 1774, she paid a visit to her sister, who had 
married a Mr. Baker, and resided upon the banks of the Ohio, oppo- 
site Yellow Creek. It was soon after the celebrated massacre of 
Logan's relatives at Baker's station. Rebecca made her visit, and 
prepared to return home as she had come, in a canoe alone, the dis- 
tance-- being fifty miles. She left her sister's residence in the after- 
noon, and paddled her canoe till dark. Then, knowing that the 



172 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



moon would rise at a certain hour, she neared the land, leaped on 
shore, and fastened her craft to some willows that drooped their 
boughs over the water. She sought shelter in a clump of bushes, 
where she lay till the moon cleared the tree tops and sent a broad 
stream of light over the bosom of the river. Then, unfastening her 
boat, she stepped a few paces into the water to get into it. But, as 
she reached the canoe, she trod on something cold and soft, and 
stooping down discovered, to her horror, that it was a human body. 
The pale moonlight streamed on the face of a dead Indian, not long 
killed, it was evident, for the body had not become stiff. The young 
woman recoiled at first, but uttered no scream, for the instinct of 
self-preservation taught her that it might be dangerous. She went 
round the corpse, which must have been there when she landed, 
stepped into her bark, and readied the mouth of Grave Creek, 
without further adventure, early the next morning. 

In the ensuing summer, one morning while kindling the fire, 
blowing the coals on her knees, she heard steps in the apartment, 
and turning round, saw a very tall Indian standing close to her. 
He shook his tomahawk at her threateningly, at the same time 
motioning her to keep silence. He then looked around the cabin 
in search of plunder. Seeing her brother's rifle hanging on hooks 
over the fireplace, he seized it and went out. Rebecca showed no 
fear while he was present ; but immediately on his departure, left 
the cabin and hid herself in the standing corn till her brother came 
home. 

In the following year the youthful widow was united to a man of 
spirit congenial to her own. Isaac Williams had served as a ranger 
in Braddock's army, and accompanied Ebenezer and Jonathan Zane 
in 1769, when they explored the country about Wheeling, having 
before that period made several hunting excursions to the waters of 
the Ohio. He explored the recesses of the western wild, following 
the water courses of the great valley to the mouth of the Ohio, and 
thence along the shores of the Mississippi, to the turbid waters of 
the Missouri ; trapping the beaver on the tributaries of. this river as 
early as 1770. His marriage with Rebecca was performed with a 



KEBECCA WIJLLIAMS. 173 

simplicity characteristic of the times. A travelling preacher who 
chanced to come into the settlement, performed the ceremony at 
short notice, the bridegroom presenting himself in his hunting dress 
and the bride in short-gown and petticoat of homespun, the common 
wear of the country. 

In 1777, the depredations and massacres of the Indians were so 
frequent that the settlement at Grave Creek, consisting of several 
families, was broken up. It was a frontier station, and lower down 
the Ohio than any other above the mouth of the Great Kanawha, 
It was in this year that the Indians made the memorable attack on 
the fort at Wheeling.* Mr. Williams and his wife, with her father's 
family, moved to the Monongahela river, above Redstone, old fort, 
where they remained until the spring of 1783. They then returned 
to their plantations on Grave Creek, but in 1785 were obliged to 
remove again into the garrison at Wheeling. While there, Mrs. 
Williams excercised the healing art for the benefit of the soldiers, as 
no surgeon could be procured. With the assistance of Mrs. Zane, 
she dressed the wounds of one wounded in fourteen places by rifle 
shots while spearing fish by torchlight, and with fomentations and 
simple applications, not only cured his wounds, which every one 
thought an impossible undertaking, but saved an arm and leg that 
were broken. Dr. Hildreth mentions that many years afterwards, 
while he was attending on a man with a compound fracture of the 
leg, in the neighborhood of Mrs. Williams' house, she was present 
at one of the dressings, and related several of her cures in border 
times. 

It has been stated that Rebecca Martin, before her marriage to 
Mr. Williams, acted as housekeeper for her brothel's for several years. 
In consideration of which service, her brothers, Joseph and Samuel, 
ma.de an entry of four hundred acres of land on the Virginia shore 
of the Ohio river, directly opposite the mouth of the Muskingum, 
for their sister ; girdling the trees, building a cabin, and planting 
and fencing four acres of corn, on the high second bottom, in the 

* See sketch of Elizabeth Zane. " Women of the American Revolution." 
Vol. II. 



174 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

spring of the year 1773. They spent the summer on the spot, oc- 
cupying their time with hunting during the growth of the crop. In 
this time they had exhausted their small stock of salt and bread 
Btuff, and lived for two or three months altogether on boiled turkies, 
which were eaten without salt. The following winter the two bro- 
thers hunted on the Big Kanawha. Some time in March, 1774, 
they reached the mouth of the river on their return. They were 
detained here a few days by a remarkably high freshet in the Ohio. 

That year was long known as that of Dunmore's war, and noted 
for Indian depredations. The renewed and oft repeated inroads of 
the Indians, led Mr. Williams to turn his thoughts towards a more 
quiet retreat than that at Grave Creek. Fort Harmer, at the mouth 
of the Muskingum, having been erected in 1786, and garrisoned by 
United States troops, he came to the conclusion that he would now 
occupy the land belonging to his wife, and located by her brothers. 
This tract embraced a large share of rich alluvions. The piece 
opened by the Tomlinsons in 1773, was grown up with young sap- 
lings, but could be easily reclaimed. Having previously visited the 
spot and put up log cabins, Williams finally removed his family and 
effects thither, the twenty-sixth of March, 1787, being the year 
before the Ohio company took possession of their purchase at the 
mouth of the Muskingum. 

In the January following the removal to his " forest domain, his 
wife gave birth to a daughter, the only issue by this marriage. Soon 
after the Ohio company emigrants had established themselves at 
Marietta, a pleasing and friendly intercourse was kept up between 
them and Mr. Williams ; and as he had now turned his attention 
more especially to clearing and cultivating his farm than to hunting, 
he was glad to see the new openings springing up around him, and 
the rude forest changing into the home of civilized man. Settle- 
ments were commenced at Belprie and Waterford the year after 
that at Marietta ; as yet little being done in cultivating the soil, their 
time chiefly occupied in building cabins and clearing the land. 

A brief account of the progress of this first settlement made in 
Ohio, will be interesting, and may here be appropriately introduced. 



REBECCA WILLIAMS. 175 

It is prepared from a large volume of Notes on Pioneer History, by 
Dr. S. P. Hildreth. 

The country on the Ohio river was little known to the English 
till about 1740, after which traders went occasionally from Pennsyl- 
vania and Virginia, and at later periods attempts were made to make 
settlements in different localities. In 1787 the Ohio company was 
formed to purchase land and form settlements ; funds were raised 
and a large number of acres contracted for, and surveyors and boat- 
builders were set at work. In April, 1788, a company of pioneers 
started in the "Adventure" galley from Simrell's Ferry, thirty miles 
above Pittsburgh, on the Yohiogoany, and landed at the mouth of 
the Muskingum. Vegetation was already advanced in the wild spot 
selected for their residence ; the trees were in leaf, and the rich 
clover pastures offered abundant sustenance for their stock. Lots 
were surveyed, and the new town laid out on the right bank of the 
Ohio, at the junction of the clear waters of the Muskingum, was 
called Marietta, in honor of Queen Marie Antoinette, whose friendly 
feeling towards the American nation had, as it was well known, 
strongly influenced her royal consort. 

The location proved fortunate in point of health as well as fertil- 
ity ; and game being abundant, the emigrants wanted for nothing. 
The ground was soon broken, and corn and vegetables planted. The 
temporary regulations for the government of the little community, 
were written out, and posted on the smooth branch of a large beech 
tree, near the mouth of the Muskingum. The fourth of July was 
celebrated by a public dinner set out in an arbor on the bank ; and 
Gen. Varnum, one of the judges, delivered the oration, while the 
officers of the garrison drank and responded to the toasts. The bill 
of fare on this occasion, which has been recorded, presented an array 
of venison, bear and buffalo meat, and roast pigs ; and among the 
fish, a pike weighing a hundred pounds, speared at the mouth of the 
Muskingum. On the 20th July, William Brook, of New England, 
preached the first sermon ever preached to white men in Ohio, Mo- 
ravian missionaries having hitherto been employed to spread the 
vuths of the Gospel among the savages. It may be interesting to 



176 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

know what was the text on this memorable occasion ; it was in 
Exodus xix., 5,6: " Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, 
and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure to me 
above all people ; for all the earth is mine ; and ye shall be unto 
me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." 

On the 20th August, the north-west blockhouse was- so far com- 
pleted, that a dinner was given by the directors of the company to 
Governor St. Glair and the officers of Fort Harmer, which the prin- 
cipal citizens attended, with the wiyes of many of the officers, and 
several other ladies, who had thus early ventured into the wilderness. 
A fine barge, rowed by twelve oars, brought the company from the 
fort up the Muskingum to the opposite bank, from which the appear- 
ance of the new fort was grand and imposing. 

The first death is noticed as that of a child, on the 25th of August. 
The number of settlers this year, after a reinforcement from New 
England, was one hundred and thirty-two, and Marietta was at this 
time the only white settlement in the territory now constituting tho 
State of Ohio. In December, about two hundred Indians came to 
make a treaty, and the council fire was kindled in a large log-house 
outside the fort. Articles were adjusted and agreed to, and the 
Indians departed well pleased with the settlers, whom they pronounced 
very different from the " long knives " and stern backwoodsmen of 
Kentucky. During the winter succeeding, the Ohio was filled with 
ice, and no boat moved up or down till March, which caused a great 
scarcity of provisions, for nothing could be procured but venison and 
bear's meat, and it was difficult to find either deer or bears in tho 
vicinity of the town. The inhabitants were obliged to live for weeks 
without bread, eating boiled corn, or coarse meal ground in a hand- 
mill, with the little meat they could procure. As soon as the river 
opened, flour could be purchased from boats trading from Redstone 
and the country near Pittshurg, and before long a road was cut 
through to Alexandria. The first marriage, between the Hon. 
Winthrop Sargent, secretary of the North West Territory, and Miss 
Rowena Tupper, daughter of Gen. Tupper, was celebrated on the 
6*,h February, 1*789, by Gen. Rufus Putnam, judge of the Court of 



REBECCA WILLIAMS. 177 

Common Pleas for Washington, the first organized county. A pub- 
lic festival was appointed for the 7th April, the anniversary of the 
commencement of their settlement, and was observed for many years, 
till the country became peopled with strangers, who knew nothing 
of the hardships and trials encountered by the primitive settlers. It 
is now sometimes kept as a holiday, for picnic excursions or social 
parties. 

Flint says he distinctly remembers the wagon that carried out a 
number of adventurers from Massachusetts, on the second emigra- 
tion to the forests of Ohio ; its large black canvass covering, and the 
white lettering in large capitals, " To Marietta, on the Ohio." 

Belprie was a branch settlement made by the direction of the Ohio 
company; the name taken from "belle prairie," or beautiful mea- 
dow. After the lots were drawn, the settlers moved to their farms 
in April, 1789, and when their log cabins were built, commenced 
cutting down and girdling the trees on the rich lowlands. From the 
destructive effects of frost in September of this year, the crops of 
corn were greatly injured,, and where planted late, entirely ruined. 
In the spring and summer of 1790, the inhabitants began to suffer 
from a want of food, especially wholesome bread-stuffs. The Indians 
were also becoming troublesome, and rendered it hazardous boating 
provisiops from the older settlements on the Monongahela, or hunt- 
ing for venison in the adjacent forests. Many families, especially at 
IVlprie, had no other meal than that made from musty or mouldy 
corn ; and were sometimes destitute even of this for several d.-iy- in 
succession. This mouldy corn commanded nine shillings, or a dollar 
and a half a bushel ; and when ground in their hand-mills and 
made into bread, few stomachs were able to digest it, or even to 
retain it for a few minutes. 

During this period of want, Isaac Williams displayed his benevo- 
lent feeling for the suffering Qolonists. Being in the country earlier, 
he had more ground cleared, and had raised a crop of several hun- 
dred bushels of corn. This he now distributed among the inlial>i 
tants at the low rate of three shillings, or fifty cents a bushel, 
when at the same time he had been urged by speculators to take a 
8* 



178 . PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

dollar for his whole crop. " I would not let them have a bushel," said 
the old hunter. He not only parted with his corn at this cheap rate, 
but prudently proportioned the number of bushels according to the 
number of individuals in a family. An empty purse was no bar to the 
needy applicant ; but his wants were equally supplied with those who 
had money, and credit was given until more favorable times should 
enable him to discharge the debt. Capt. Jonathan Devoll, hearing of 
Williams 7 corn, and the cheap rate at which he sold it, made a trip 
to Marietta to procure some of it ; travelling by land, and in the night, 
on account of the danger from Indians, a distance of twelve or four- 
teen miles. Williams treated him with much kindness, and aftei 
letting him have several bushels of corn at the usual price in plenti- 
ful years, furnished him with his only canoe to transport it home. 

Like Isaac and Rebecca of old, this modern Isaac and Rebecca 
were given to good deeds ; and many a poor, sick, and deserted 
boatman has been nursed and restored to health beneath their hum- 
ble roof. Full of days and good deeds, and strong in the faith of a 
blessed immortality, Williams resigned his spirit to him who gave it, 
the 25th of September, 1820, aged eighty-four years, and was buried 
in a beautiful grove on his own plantation, surrounded by the trees 
he so dearly loved when living. 

In spite of treaties, the Indians continued to harass the settlements* 
in western Virginia, and in August attacked a surveying party em- 
ployed by the Ohio Company in running the lines of the townships. 
The savages seemed to hold the surveyor's chain and compass in 
utter detestation. In the winter of 1*790, the governor of the North 
West Territory, St. Clair, removed his family from his plantation at 
" Potts' Grove," in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, to Marietta. 
One of his daughters, Louisa, was long remembered as one of the 
most distinguished among the ladies of that day. In strength and 
elasticity of frame, blooming health, energy and fearlessness, she was 
the ideal of a soldier's daughter, extremely fond of adventure and 
frolic, and ready to draw amusement from everything around her. 
She was a fine equestrian, and would manage the most spirited 
horse with perfect ease and grace, dashing at full gallop through the 



LOUISA ST. CLAIR. 17 4 J 

open woodland surrounding the " Campus Martius," and leaping over 
logs or any obstacle in her way. She was also expert in skating, 
and was rivalled by few, if any young men in the garrison, in the 
speed, dexterity, and grace of movement with which she exercised 
herself in this accomplishment. The elegance of her person, and 
her neat, well-fitting dress, were shown to great advantage in her 
rapid gyrations over the broad sheet of ice in the Muskingum, which 
for a few days in winter offered a fine field, close to the garrison, for 
this healthful sport; and loud were the plaudits from young and old, 
from spectators of both sexes, called forth by the performance of tho 
governor's daughter. As a huntress she was equally distinguished, 
and might have served as a model for a Diana, in her rambles 
through the forest, had she been armed with a bow instead of a rifle, 
of which latter instrument she was perfect mistress, loading and 
firing with the accuracy of a backwoodsman, killing a squirrel on 
the top of the tallest tree, or cutting off the head of a partridge with 
wonderful precision. She was fond of roaming through the woods, 
and often went out alone into the forest near Marietta, fearless of 
the savages who often lurked in the vicinity. As active on foot as 
on horseback, she could walk several miles with the untiring rapid- 
ity of a practised ranger. Notwithstanding her possession of these 
unfeminine attainments, Miss St. Glair's refined manners would 
have rendered her the ornament of any drawing-room circle ; she 
was beautiful in person, and had an intellect highly cultivated, hav- 
ing received a carefully finished education under the best teachers in 
Philadelphia. Endowed by nature with a vigorous constitution and 
lively animal spirits, her powers, both of body and mind, .had been 
strengthened by such athletic exercises, to the practice of which sho 
had been encouraged from childhood by her father. He had spent 
the greater part of his life in camps, and was not disposed to tetter 
by conventional rules his daughter's rare spirit, so admirably suited 
to pioneer times and manners, however like an amazon she may 
seem to the less independent critics of female manners at the present 
day. After the Indian war, Miss St. Glair returned to her early 
home in the romantic glens of Ligonior valley. 



ISO PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

It is said that the first woman who came to Marietta was the wife 
of James Owen, and that she received a donation lot of one hundred 
acres from the Ohio company on this account. She gave shelter to a 
man who had been put ashore from a boat on the way to Kentucky, 
and took the small-pox from him, which soon spread, and most of 
the inhabitants were inoculated to preserve them from the terrible 
ravages of the disease. Hardly was this anxiety over than the great 
scarcity of provisions already noticed prevailed ; good corn rising to 
the price of two dollars a bushel, and the distress increasing as the 
summer approached. There were few cows and no oxen or cattle 
to spare ; hogs were scarce, and the woods were bare of game, the 
deer and buffaloes within twenty miles having been killed or driven 
away by the Indians. In this extremity great land ness vvas shown 
among the settlers, each sharing what he had with his neighbors, 
and those who had cows dividing their milk The poor obtained 
supplies of fish from the river. The Indians this year -1790 
commenced a new species of warfare, by attacking boats in the 
rver usually owned by emigrants on the way to Kentucky, Their 
principal rendezvous was near the mouth of the Scioto, and a favor- 
ite device to get possession of a boat, was to make a white man 
stand on the bank and entreat the crew to land and take him on 
board, saying he had just escaped from Indian slavery and if recap- 
tured would be put to death. By this mode of appeal to the com- 
passion of emigrants, the men in several boats were induced to land, 
when the savages lying in ambush would seize the boat or shoot 
down the crew from their hiding-place. The decoy was sometimes 
an actual prisoner, whom they forced to act his part, and sometimes 
a renegade white who joined them voluntarily for the sake of a share 
in the plunder. 

In October a large company of French emigrants arrived at 
Marietta, coming down the Ohio in " Kentucky arks," or flatboats. 
Many were from Paris, and wondered not a little at the broad rivers 
and vast forests of the West. The distress and destitution into 
which they were thrown by the failure of the Scioto company to 
fulfil their contracts, and the substitution of lands on the Ohio 



MASSACRE AT BIG BOTTOM. 181 

below the Kanawha, are mentioned in another sketch. Gen. Rufus 
Putnam was commissioned by the principal men in the Scioto com- 
pany to build houses and furnish provisions for these colonists, and 
did so at great loss, the company eventually failing and dissolving. 
Indian hostilities commenced in January, 1791, with an attack on 
the blockhouse at Big Bottom. This building stood on the first or 
low bottom, a few rods from the shore on the left bank of the Mus- 
kingum, four miles above the mouth of Meigs' Creek and thirty 
from Marietta. A few rods back, the land rose several feet to a 
second or higher bottom, which stretched out into a plain of half a 

O i 1 

mile in width, extending to the foot of the hills. Big Bottom was 
so called from its size, being four or five miles in length, and con- 
taining more fine land than any other below Duncan's falls. Ex- 
cepting the small clearing round the garrison, the whole region was 
a forest. This settlement was made up of thirty-six young men, but 
little acquainted with Indian warfare or military rules. Confident in 
their own prudence and ability to protect themselves, they put up a 
blockhouse which might accommodate all in an emergency, covered 
it, and laid puncheon floors, stairs, &c. It was built of large beech 
logs, and rather open, as it was not chinked between the logs ; this 
job was left for a rainy day or some more convenient season. They 
kept no sentry, and had neglected to set pickets around the block- 
house, and their guns were lying in different places, without order, 
about the house. Twenty men usually encamped in the house, 
a part of whom were now absent, and each individual 'and mess 
cooked for themselves. One end of the building was appropriated 
for a fire-place, and at close of day all came in, built a large fire, 
and commenced cooking and eating their suppers. 

A party of Indians came into a cabin occupied by a few of the 
men, near the blockhouse, and spoke to them in a friendly manner, 
partaking of their supper. Presently taking some leathern thongs 
and pieces, of cord that had been used in packing venison, they 
seized the white men by their arms, and told them they were pri- 
soners. Another party attacked the blockhouse so suddenly and 
unexpectedly that there was no time for defence, shooting down and 



182 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

tomahawking the men. One stout Virginia woman, the wife of 
Isaac Meeks, who was employed as their hunter, seized an axe and 
made a blow at the head of the Indian who opened the. door ; a 
slight turn of the head saved his skull, and the axe passed down 
through his cheek into the shoulder, leaving a huge gash that sev- 
ered nearly half his face ; she was instantly killed by the tomahawk 
of one of his companions before she could repeat the stroke. This 
was all the injury received by the Indians, as the men were killed 
before they had time to seize their arms which stood in the corner 
of the room. While the slaughter was going on, a young man in 
the prime of life sprung up the stair-way and out upon the roof ; 
while his brother, a lad of sixteen, secreted himself under some 
bedding in the corner of the room. The Indians on the outside 
soon discovered the former, and. shot him in the act of begging them 
to spare his life, " as he was the only one left." 

Twelve persons were killed in this attack. The savages had 
vowed that before the trees put forth leaves, the smoke of a white man's 
house should not rise north-west of the waters of the Ohio. The 
inhabitants assembled at the three stations at Marietta, Belprie arid 
Waterford, new blockhouses were built at the expense of the Ohio 
company, and two hunters were employed to act as spies for each 
garrison. Gen. Putnam complained to President Washington of 
the danger in which the settlements stood of being entirely swept 
away without a reinforcement of troops, and a military force was 
sent for their defence in the ensuing summer. 

The following incident is illustrative : " On a day in March, 
Rogers and Henderson sallied out of the garrison at an early hour, 
to scout up the Muskingum. They ranged diligently all day with- 
out seeing any Indians, or discovering signs of their being in the 
neighborhood. Just at night, as they were returning to the 
garrison by a cow-path, and had come within a mile of home, 
two Indians rose from behind a log, fifty yards before them, and 
fired. Rogers was shot through the heart, and as he fell, Hender- 
son attempted to support him, but he told him he was a dead man, 
and he must provide for his own safety. He turned to escape down the 



INCIDENT. 183 

side of the ridge, to the bottom, and two more savages who had 
reserved their fire, rose and discharged their rifles at him as he 
rah ; one of the balls passing through the collar of his hunting- 
shirt, the other through the silk handkerchief which was bound 
round his head, and formed a part of a ranger's dress, barely grazing 
the scalp. His blanket, folded like a knapsack on his back, pro- 
bably saved his life, shielding the vital part by its numerous 
folds, from the passage of a bullet. The Indians well knew what a 
protection this would be, and therefore aimed at his head. After 
running a few hundred yards on the back track, he discovered that 
the savages had taken a shorter course and got ahead of him, and 
making a short turn to the right, up a ravine, he crossed the ridge and 
came out into the valley of Duck Creek, unmolested. While making 
this detour, he fell quite unexpectedly on the camp of the savages, 
and saw one busily engaged in kindling a fire, and so diligently 
occupied that he did not observe the white man. Henderson could 
easily have shot him, but as his pursuers had lost the direction of 
his course, he thought it imprudent by firing to give them notice of 
his whereabouts, and went on to the garrison at the point. The 
alarm gun was fired, and answered from Fort ILirrner and Campus 
Martius. The story spread through the village that Rogers had 
been killed, and Henderson chased to the garrison by Indians, 
who were then besieging its gates. The darkness of night 
added to the confusion of the scene. The order, in case of an 
alarm, was for every man to repair to his alarm post, and the 
women and children to the blockhouses. Some idea of the pro- 
ceedings of the night may be obtained from the narration of an eye- 
witness : 

" 4 The first applicant for admission to the central blockhouse 
was Col. Sproat, with a box of papers for safe keeping ; then came 
some young men with their arms ; next, a woman with her bed and 
her children ; and after her, old William Moukin, from Newbnry- 
port, with his leathern apron full of old goldsmith's tools and 
tobacco. His daughter, Anna, brought the china tea-pot, cups 







PIONEEIt WOMEN OF THE WEST, 

and saucers. Lydia brought the great bible ; but when all were in, 
' mother' was missing. Where was mother ? She must be killed 
by the Indians. ' No,' says Lydia, i mother said she would not 
leave the house looking so ; she would put things a little to rights.' 
After a while the old lady arrived, bringing the looking-glass, knives 
and forks, etc.' " 

From the commencement of the settlement, the Sabbath had 
been kept as a day of rest; and from 1789, regular service was 
performed in the north-west block-house at Campus Martius. The 
military law required the regular muster of troops every Sunday at 
ten o'clock. Tfiey were paraded by beat of drum, the roll called,- 
arms inspected, and then the procession, headed by Colonel Sproat 
with drawn sword, the clergyman and the civil officers, with accom- 
paniment of fife and drum, marched into the hall appropriated for 
divine service. The arms of the soldiers were placed by their sides, 
or in some convenient place, ready for use. " One Sunday morning 
in the latter part of September, Peter Niswonger, one of the 
rangers, went to visit a field he had planted with corn and potatoes, 
on the east side of Duck Creek. He had some fattened hogs in a 
pen, one of which he found killed, and a portion of the meat cut out 
and carried off. Several hills of potatoes had been dug, arid in the 
loose earth . he discovered fresh moccasin tracks ; a proof that 
Indians had done the mischief. Peter hurried back to the garrison 
at the point, and gave the alarm. It was in the midst of morn- 
ing service, and the inhabitants were generally assembled in* the 
large block-house. The instant the words, ' Indians in the neigh- 
borhood,' were heard, .the drummer seized 'his drum, and rushing 
out at the door, began to beat the long roll ; the well known signal 
for every man to hasten to his post. The place of worship, so 
quiet a few minutes before, was now a scene of alarm and confusion. 
The women caught up their little children and hastened home- 
ward, and the place of prayer was abandoned for that day. Anxiety 
for the fate of their brothers and husbands, who had gone in pursuit 
of the dreaded enemy, banished all thoughts but the silent, fervent 
prayer for their safe return. A party was soon mustered of five or 



ANECDOTE. 185 

six of the rangers, several volunteer citizens, and soldiers from the 
company stationed at the point. The men went up in canoes to the 
mouth of Duck Creek, where they left their water-c/aft. The more 
experienced rangers soon fell upon the trail, which they traced across 
wide bottoms, to the Little Muskingum. At a point about half a 
mile below where Conner's mill now stands, the Indians forded, the 
creek ; and about a mile eastward, in a hollow betweeij the hills, 
was seen the smoke of their camp fire. The rangers now divided 
the volunteers* into two flanking parties, with one of the spies at the 
head of each ; three of their number acting irt front. By the time 
the ' flankers' had come within range of the camp, the Indians dis- 
covered their foes, by the noise of soldiers who lagged behind and 
were not so cautious in their movements, and instantly fled up the 
run on which they were encamped ; two of their number leaving 
the main body, and ascending the point of a hill with a ravine on 
the right and left. The rangers now fired, while the Indians, each 
taking his tree, returned the shot. One of the two savages on the 
s"pur of the ridge was wounded by one of the spies on the right, who 
pushed on manfully to gain the enemy's flank. The men in front 
came on more slowly, and as they began to ascend the point of the 
ridge, Ned Henderson, who was posted on high ground, cried, 
* Hence ! there is an Indian behind that white oak ; he will kill 
some of you !' One of the white men instantly sprang behind a 
large tree ; another behind a hickory too small to cover more than 
half his body, while the third jumped into the ravine. At the 
instant the Indian fired, he looked over the edge of the bank to see 
the effect of the shot, and saw the man behind the hickory wiping 
the dust of the bark from his eyes ; the ball having grazed the tree 
without doing him any injury except cutting his nose with the 
splinters. At the same time the Indian fell, pierced with several 
balls." 

" The first Sunday school was taught by Mrs. Andrew L^ke, a 
kind-hearted, pious old lady from New York, who had brought up 
a family of children herself, and therefore felt the more for others ; 
she took compassion on the children of the garrison, who were 



186 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

spending the Sabbath afternoons in frivolous amusements, and 
established a school in her own dwelling. After parson Story's 
services were finished, she regularly assembled as many of the 
younger children as she could persuade to attend, and taught them 
the Westminster catechism, and lessons from the Bible, for about an 
hour. Her scholars amounted to about twenty in number. She 
was very kind and affectionate towards them, so that they were fond 
of assembling to listen to her instructions. Her explanations of 
Scripture were so simple and childlike, that the smallest of the little 
ones could understand them, and were rendered very pleasant 
by her mild manner of speaking. The accommodations for the 
children were very rude and simple, consisting only of a few low 
stools and benches, such a thing as a chair being unknown in the 
garrison. One of her scholars, then a little boy of four years old, 
who gave me a sketch of the school, says for lack of a seat 
he was one day placed by the kind old lady on the top of a bag of 
meal, that stood leaning against the side of the room. The seed 
thus charitably sown in faith and hope, was not scattered in vain ; 
as several of her scholars became prominent members of the 
church." 

The offer of lands for military service brought new emigrants from 
Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the firmness and wisdom of 
directors and agents, backed by the counsel of old Revolutionary 
officers, preserved the settlement in the midst of formidable dangers. 
Among other inconveniences brought by war, the mills were stopped, 
and it was necessary to grind the corn in hand-mills, though flour 
might still be procured at " head-waters." 

There were but two hand-mills in the garrison, and a large coffee- 
mill, which had once belonged to a ship of war. The hopper held a 
peck of corn, and it was in great demand. After this imperfect 
grinding, the finest of the meal was separated with a sieve for bread, 
and the coarse boiled with a piece of venison or bear's meat, making 
a rich and nourishing diet, well suited to the tastes of the hungry 
pioneers. 

One instance of strict honor, in the midst of privation, is men- 



PRIVATIONS. 187 

tloned of the wife of an officer in the United States' service, and one 
of the most worthy men in the colony. During the period of the 
greatest distress, the mother had consented to cook for. a young 
man uho owned a lot adjoining hers, and ate his meals at his own 
cabin. While the bread, which was made of musty meal, was 
baking, she always sent her children out to play, and when baked, 
locked it immediately in the owner's chest, lest they should see it, 
and ciy for a piece of what she had no right to give them. When 
a few kernels of corn chanced to be -dropped in grinding, the 
children would pick them up like chickens, and eat them. A few 
of the inhabitants had cows, for which, in summer, the forest 
afforded ample provender. In the latter part of the winter, the sap 
of the sugar maple, boiled down with meal, made a rich and 
nutritious food ; and the tree was so abundant, that as large quanti- 
ties of sugar were made as the number of kettles in the settlement 
would permit. By the .middle of July, the new corn was in 
the milk, and fit for roasting ; and this, with squashes, beans, etc., 
put an end to fears of actual starvation. So urgent was the neces- 
sity, that these different vegetables, before they were fully formed, 
were gathered and boiled together, with a little meal, into a kind of 
soup much relished. It was even said that the dogs would get at 
and devour the young corn. 

Under these discouraging circumstances, the inhabitants contri- 
buted all the money they could raise, and sent two active young 
men bv land to " Red Stone," to procure supplies of salt meat and a 
few barrels of flour. It was a hazardous journey, on account of the 
inclemency of the weather it being early in December and dan- 
ger from the Indians, who since St. Glair's defeat were more active 
in harassing the settlements. The young men, however, reached 
head waters, and made the necessary purchases, which they were 
about sending down the river when it was suddenly closed by ice. 
Nothing, meanwhile, was heard of them at home, and the winter 
wore away in uncertainty, some-supposing the messengers had gone 
off with the money, and others that they had been killed by the 
savages. The ice broke up the last* of February with a flood that 



188 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

inundated the ground on which the garrison was built, and early in 
March the young men arrived with a small Kentucky boat loaded 
with supplies, and entering the garrison by the upper gate, moored 
their ark at the door of the commandant, to the great relief and joy 
of the inhabitants. 

The expedition of Gen. Harrnar having failed of its object, the 
north-west territory was stilj, a battle-ground for confederate tribes 
from Lakes Erie and Michigan, from the Illinois, the Wabash, and 
the Mi amis. The famous chief, Little Turtle, was at their head. 
This failure having made a deep impression, there was a demand 
for a greater force under the command of. a more experienced gene- 
ral ; and Arthur St. Clair was selected as most capable of restoring 
American affairs in the north-west His army was assembled at 
Cincinnati with the object of destroying the Miami towns. Gen, St. 
Glair's defeat on a branch of the Wabash, November 4th, 1791, was 
one of the heaviest disasters in the annals of savage warfare. Its 
effect was to expose the whole range of frontier settlements on the 
Ohio, to the fury of the Indians, and spread so much alarm among 
the inhabitants, that many talked of leaving the country. Their 
final determination, however, was to stay and defend their property, 
and the ensuing winter, in spite of disasters, brought fresh arrivals 
of colonists. During the continuance of the war, the men were 
obliged to work their fields with arms in their hands ; parties of 
fifteen or twenty laboring, while three or four were posted as sentries 
in the edge of the woods or* enclosure. Thus food for their families 
was obtained at the risk of the rifle or the tomahawk. 

The year 1791 was more fruitful of tragic events in the vicinity 
of Marietta than any other. After that time the Indians were occu- 
pied in defending their own borders, or their villages, against Ameri- 
can troops, and had little time for hostile incursions. The expenses 
in which the war had involved the Ohio Company, caused the fail- 
ure of payment for the lands ; petitions were presented to Congress 
for donation lots, and those emigrants who came after the termina- 
tion of Indian hostilities obtained better lands, on more favorable 



WOODS IN SPEING. 189 

terms, than those who had undergone all the privations, labors, and 
sufferings which preceded the privileged season. 

"The winter of 1791-2," says Spencer in his narrative, " was fol- 
lowed by an early and delightful spring; indeed, I have often 
thought that our first western winters were much milder, our springs 
earlier, and our autumns longer than they now are. On the last of 
February, some of the trees were putting forth their foliage ; in 
March, the red-bud, the hawthorn and the dog-wood in full bloom 
checkered the hills, displaying their beautiful colors of rose and lily ; 
and in April the ground was covered with the May apple, blood root, 
ginseng, violets > and a great variety of herbs and flowers. Flocks of 
parroque'ts were seen, decked in their rich plumage of green and 
gold. Birds of every species and of e.very hue, were flitting from 
tree to tree; and the beautiful redbird, and the untaught songster of 
the west, made the woods vocal with their melody. Now might be 
heard the plaintive wail of the dove, and now the rumbling drum of 
the partridge, or the loud gobble of the turkey. Here .might be 
seen the clumsy bear, doggedly moving off, or urged by pursuit 
into a laboring gallop, retreating to his citadel in the top of some 
lofty tree; or approached suddenly raising himself erect in the 
attitude of defence, facing his enemy and waiting his approach ; 
there the timid deer, watchfully resting, or cautiously feeding, or 
aroused from his thicket, gracefully bounding off, then stopping, 
erecting his stately head and for a moment gazing around, or snuff- 
ing the air to ascertain his enemy, instantly springing off, clearing 
logs and bushes at a bound, and soon distancing his pursuers. Tt 
seemed an earthly paradise ; and but for apprehension of the wily 
copperhead, who lay silently coiled among the leaves, or beneath 
the plants, waiting to strike his victim ; the horrid rattlesnake, who 
more chivalrous, however, with head erect amidst its ample folds, 
prepared to dart upon his foe, generously with the loud noise of his 
rattle apprised him of danger ; and the still more fearful and insi- 
dious savage, who, crawling upon the ground, or noiselessly approach- 
ing behind trees and thickets, sped the deadly shaft or fatal bullet, 



190 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

you might have fancied you were in the confines of Eden or the 
borders of Elysium." 

The author of " Miami County Traditions," says : " The country 
all around the settlement presented the most lovely appearance ; the 
earth was like an ash-heap, and nothing could exceed the luxuriance 
of primitive vegetation ; indeed, our cattle often died from excess of 
feeding, and it was somewhat difficult to rear them on that account. 
The white-weed, or bee-harvest, as it is called, so profusely spread 
over our bottom and woodlands, was not then seen among us ; the 
sweet annis, nettles, wild rye, and pea-vine, now so scarce, every 
where abounded ; they were almost the entire herbage of our bot- 
toms ; the two last gave subsistence to our cattle, and the first, with 
our nutritious roots, were eaten by our swine with the greatest 
avidity. In the spring and summer months, a drove of hogs could 
be scented at a considerable distance, from their flavor cf the annis 
root." 

When Gen. Putnam had concluded a treaty with the Indians on 
the Wabash, fourteen of the chiefs came to Marietta, November 17th, 
1792, under the escort of American officers. The next day a public 
dinner was given to them at Campus Martius, to which the officers 
of the garrison and the citizens of Marietta were invited. The pro- 
cession was formed on the bank of the Ohio, where the boat landed, 
and the chiefs were conducted, with martial music, to the north-east 
gate of the garrison, a salute of fourteen guns being fired as soon as 
the head of the column appeared in sight. The procession then 
moved through the gate to the dining hall, a room* twenty-four by 
forty feet large, in the hall of the north-west block-house, where the 
feast provided had been arranged by the ladies of the garrison. An 
eye-witness says : " The entertainment was very novel, and the 
scene peculiar and striking. Shut up in the garrison, and at war 
with the other tribes of the forest, shaking hands with our red 
guests, and passing from one to another the appellation of brother ! 
It seemed to renew the scenes of the first year's settlement, and 
make us almost forget war was upon our border." 

After the banquet and ceremonies were concluded, the chiefs were 



SALLY WAKTH. 191 

again conducted to their boats. The next day they were invited by 
several gentlemen of the stockade garrison at the point, to smoke 
the pipe of friendship ; after which they proceeded on their journey. 
Another of the female pioneers whose name tradition has pre- 
served, is Sally Fleehart, who became the wife of John Warth, a 
noted hunter and ranger, and lived in one of the barracks. Warth 
learned to read and write in the intervals of his ranging tours, and 
after the peace settled in Virginia, and served as a magistrate, 
becoming a wealthy planter and owning a number of slaves. His 
success was attributable to the education given him by his wife, who 
had been brought up on the frontier, and possessed not only 
unusual intellectual cultivation for that class, but all the intrepidity 
and activity common to women at that day, in a remarkable degree. 
She could fire a rifle with great accuracy, and bring down a bird on 
the wing, or a squirrel from the tree, as readily as could the practised 
arm of her husband. 

The women resident in the forts had but little respite from anxiety 
and dread, except in the depths of winter, when the Indians rarely 
committed depredations, or lay in watch about the settlements. As 
soon, however, as the wild geese, seen in flocks steering their course 
northward, or the frogs piping: in the swamp, gave token of the ap- 
proach of the more genial season, the return of the savage foe might 
be expected. Thus the more timid part of the community, and*the 
elder females never Welcomed the coming of spring with the hilarity 
it generally awakens, preferring the " melancholy days" of gloom 
and tempest, when they and their children were comparatively'safe ; 
regarding the budding of trees and opening of wild flowers with sad 
forebodings, and listening to the song of birds as a prelude to the 
warcry of the relentless savage. The barking of the faithful watch- 
dog at night was another cause of terror, associated as it was with 
visions of the Indian lurking in his covert ; and it was seldom heard 
by the timid mother without raising her head from the pillow to 
listen anxiously for the sound of the distant warwhoop, or the 
report of the sentry's rifle; to sink again into uneasy slumber, and 
dream of some wild deed or fearful occurrence. Some amusing inci- 



192 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

dents are related of the alarm created in a garrison by the sudden 
outcry of persons who were dreaming of Indian assault. This part 
of the suffering peculiar to those times, can hardly be imagined in 
our days of peace and security. 

One instance of the confusion created by a false alarm may be 
given : " One dark and rainy night in June, while John Wint, a 
youth of eighteen, was on the watch in the tower of the middle 
blockhouse, he saw by a flash of lightning a darklooking object 
climbing over a log, which lay about fifty yards from the fort. A 
report had been previously circulated of Indians being seen in the 
neighborhood, and this appeared about the height of a man. At 
the next flash John hailed and fired the same instant. All remained 
quiet outside ; but the report awakened every body within the gar- 
rison, and meuime running from all quarters in great alarm, 
thinking the savages were already upon them, for no sentinel ever 
fired without good cause. The women came hurrying along with 
their screaming children, and the soldiers with their guns ready for 
service. In the midst of the tumult, Col. Sproat was soon on the 
ground, and questioned the sentinel closely as to what he had seen 
or heard. John was rather- confused at the disturbance he had 
raised without being able to state some more definite cause than the 
dark body bearing resemblance to a man, which he had seen 
standing on a log. He said he had fired at a white spot he saw 
above its head by the flash of lightning, and there were many sur- 
mises as to what it could be ; some thinking it must be an Indian, 
others protesting John had fired at nothing to see the fun of a night 
alarm, as he was known .to be fond of a little harmless sport. No 
further signs of the enemy were discovered, as no one would venture 
out in the dark to reconnoitre for savages. In the morning, after the 
gates were opened, a party went to the log pointed out by John, 
and found a large black dog, which belonged to one of the soldiers, 
with a rifle shot through the centre of a white spot in his forehead." 
The accuracy of the shot attested the sentry's excellence as a marks- 
man, though much useless anxiety had been excited by his mistake. 

This is a brief notice of the earliest settlement in Ohio, the germ 



JANE DICK MARY HECKEWELDER. 193 

whence has sprung a great and powerful State. The termination of 
the Indian war, brought about by the victorious campaign of Gen. 
Anthony Wayne, and the conclusion of the treaty at Greenville in 
1795, restored peace to the harassed settlements; mills were erected, 
roads opened, and the inhabitants who had so long been immured 
within the walls of forts, went forth to till their grounds and clear 
away the forest unembarrassed by the dread of a lurking enemy. 

Brickell, in his narrative of captivity among the Indians, relates a 
curious anecdote of the escape of Mrs. Jane Dick. " Her husband 
had concerted a plan with the captain of the vessel which brought 
the presents, to steal her from the Indians. The captain concerted 
a plan with a black man who cooked for McKee and Elliot, to steal 
Mrs. Dick. The black man arranged it with Mrs. Dick to meet him 
at midnight in a copse of underwood, which she did, and he took 
her on board in a small canoe, and headed her up in an empty hogs- 
head, where she remained till the day after the vessel sailed, about 
thirty-six hours. I remember well that every camp and the woods 
were searched for her, and that the vessel was searched ; for tho 
Indians immediately suspected that she was on board, but not think- 
ing of unheading hogsheads, they could not find her." This hap- 
pened the summer before Wayne's campaign. 



MARY HECKEWELDER, the daughter of Rev. John Heckewelder, 
whose early labors as a Moravian missionary among the Indians are 
well known, is said to have been the first white child born in Ohio. 
The following sketch was sent by her to the editor of the American 
Pioneer: "I was born April 16th, 1781, in Salem, one of the 
Moravian Indian towns on the Muskingum river, Ohio. Soon 
after my birth, times becoming very troublesome, the settlements 
were often in danger from 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 
9 



194: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

declared prisoners of war ; they were then led into the camp of the 
Delawares, where the death-song was sung over them. Soon after 
they had secured them, a number of warriors marched off for Salem 
and Schonbrunn. 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 
everything 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 morning the night being dark 
and rainy, and almost impossible for her to travel so far. They 
consented 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 some time, 
they were set at liberty again ; but were obliged to leave their flour- 
ishing settlements and forced to march through a dreary wilderness 
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 Sandusky 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 
everything they had saved. Those that 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 continuation of swamps. 

" Having arrived at Upper Sandusky, they built small huts of logs 
and bark to screen them from the cold, having neither beds nor 
blankets, and being reduced to the greatest poverty and want ; for 
the savages had by degrees stolen almost everything both from the 
missionaries and Indians on the journey. We lived here extremely 
poor, often having very little or nothing to satisfy the cravings of hun- 



MARY HECKEWELDEK. 195 

ger ; 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 dis- 
tress 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 their families to De- 
troit, 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 alternative, 
they were obliged to submit to this, one of the heaviest of their trials. 
The poor Indians came weeping to bid them farewell, and accompa- 
nied 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 hardships. April 14th, we set out and 
crossed over a part of the lake, and arrived at Detroit by the straits 
which join Lakes Erie and Huron. We were lodged in the bar- 
racks by order of the governor. Some weeks after, we left the bar- 
racks 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 the 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 Bethlehem." 

The murder of the Moravian Indians was one of the most atro- 
cious transactions in the history of the West. They consisted 
chiefly of Delawares, with a few Mohicans ; had been converted to 
Christianity through the zeal and influence of Moravian missionaries, 
and had lived ten years quietly in their villages of Gnadenhutten, 
Schonbrunn, Salem, and Lichtenau. Although in friendship with 
the whites, they fell under the displeasure of the border settlers, who 
suspected them of aiding and abetting the hostile savages ; an 
expedition against them was undertaken in March, 1782, after some 



196 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Indian incursions, by a party of men chiefly from the Monongahela, 
led by Col. David Williamson ; they were induced by assurances 
of good-will, to assemble at Guadenhutten, and there were delibe- 
rately massacred in cold blood. It is said that the number of killed 
was ninety-six, including women and children. Two only of the 
devoted Indians made their escape. 



" RUHAMA GREENE was born and raised in Jefferson County, Vir- 
ginia. In 1785, she married Charles Builderback, 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 himself 
in repelling the Indians, who had often felt the 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, Capt. Charles Builderback, his wife and brother, Jacob Builder- 
back, crossed the Ohio to look after some cattle. On reaching 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 husband, 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 words, ' a struggle took place in my breast, which I 
cannot describe. Shall I go to him and become a prisoner, or shall 
I remain, 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, 
Baying, that if she obeyed, perhaps it would be the means of saving 
his life. She no longer hesitated, but left her place of safety, and 



KUHAkA GREENE. 197 

surrendered herself to his savage captors. All this took place in full 
view of their cabin, on the opposite shore, where they had left 
their two children, one a son about three years of age, and an infant 
daughter. The Indians, knowing that they would be pursued as soon 
as the news of their visit reached the stockade at Wheeling, commenced 
their retreat* Mrs. Builderback and her husband travelled together 
that day and the following night. The next morning, the Indians 
separated into two bands,. one taking Builderback, and the other his 
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 were soon 
rejoined by the band that had her husband in charge. Here the 
murderers exhibited his scalp on the top of a pole, and to convince 
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 
notliing, and uttered no complaint. It was evening ; her ears 
pained with the terrific yells of the savages, and wearied by constant 
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.* 

" 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, arid apparently suffered a linger- 
ing death. 

* Her husband commanded a company 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. At this jevelation, the 
Indians stared at each other with malignant triumph. u Ha!" said they, 
" you kill many Indians you big captain you kill Moravians." From that 
moment, probably, his death was decreed. 



19S PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

" 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, per- 
forming the labor and drudgery of squaws, such as carrying in meat 
from the hunting grounds, preparing and drying it, making moccasins, 
leggins and other clothing for the family in which she lived. 
After her adoption she suffered much from the rough and filthy 
manner of Indian living, but had no cause to complain of ill-treat- 
ment otherwise. 

" 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 into the fort, and in a few weeks was sent up the river 
to her lonely cabin, and 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 Greene, and in 
1798, they emigrated to the Hockhocking valley, and settled about 
three miles west of Lancaster, where she continued to reside until 
the time of her death, about the year 1842. She survived her last 
husband about ten years."* 

# Historical Collections of Ohio. 






XL 

REBECCA ROUSE. 

AMONG other families who ventured on the long and perilous 
journey from the granite soil of New England, in the year 1788, a 
year never to be forgotten in the annals of Ohio, were those of John 
Rouse and Jonathan Devoll. Before the period of the Revolution, 
Mr. Rouse had followed the vocation of a whaleman and seaman, 
from the port of New Bedford, and was now living on a small farm 
in the town of Rochester, Massachusetts, near the little harbor of 
Mattepoisett. His family consisted of a wife and eight children. 
Capt. Jonathan Haskell, who also lived in Rochester, and had been 
an officer in the war, joined him in fitting out the expedition, and 
furnished a large covered wagon and two of the horses, Mr. 
Rouse furnishing the other two. An active young man, named 
Gushing, who wished to settle in the west, was employed to drive 
the wagon. As the journey was a long one, they took as few arti- 
cles of beds, bedding, and cooking utensils, as they could possibly 
do with on the road. Tlieir clothing and other goods were packed 
in trunks and large wooden boxes made to fit the inside of the 
wagon. 

The parting from their old neighbors at Mattepoisett, was one of 
much tenderness, accompanied by many hearty adieus and sincere 
prayers for their welfare on the journey, and their happiness in that 



200 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

far away region. No one, at this day, can imagine with what dread 
and awe a journey to the new territory west of the Ohio, was then 
viewed by the simple-hearted people of New England. A party of 
young ladies, on horseback, accompanied the females as far as " The 
Long-plain," distant six miles. Here they tarried for about a week 
amongst their kinsfolk and former neighbors ; for at this place 
Rouse had lived many years, and here most of the children had been 
born. 

The morning they left Mattepoisett, an interesting occurrence took 
place which shows the strong attachment of the female heart to 
home and relatives. A rich old farmer of that place, who had taken 
a great liking to Bathsheba, the eldest daughter, and was anxious 
that his son should obtain her for a wife, offered to give her by deed 
a nice farm and good dwelling-house, if she would stay amongst 
them and not go with the family to the West. But her affection 
for her parents, sisters r and brothers was too great to forego the pleas- 
ure of their society probably for the rest of her life, and the offer 
was declined, much to the sorrow of the generous old man. The 
week flew rapidly away in social intercourse with their kindred, and 
solemn and sorrowful were the greetings of the farewell hour. The 
distance was so great, and the dangers of the wilderness so many, 
that they all thought the parting was to be final as to this world ; 
and so indeed it proved to the larger portion of them. Capt. Has- 
kell joined them that morning from Rochester, and early in October, 
1788, they took their departure from "The Long-plain," and com- 
menced their arduous journey to Muskingurn, as the new settlement 
was then called. They reached Providence the second day, at even- 
ing at which place they were joined by the family of Jonathan 
Devoll, composed of Mrs. Devoll and five children. Mrs. Nancy 
Devoll was the sister of Mrs. Rouse. He'f husband had been absent 
nearly a year, attached to the party of pioneers sent by the Ohio 
company the autumn previous. He was the naval architect of the 
" May-flower," which conveyed the first detachment of men from 
Simrel's Ferry, on the Yohiogany, to the mouth of the Muskingum, 
and one of the first who landed the *7th of April, 1788, on the soil 



REBECCA ROUSE. 201 

of the present State of Ohio. Their large covered wagon, with four 
horses, was fitted up in a similar style to the other, and was driven 
by Isaac Barker, an only brother of the married females, who had 
left a wife and family in Rochester, till he could return and bring 
them the following year. 

After travelling through New England, New York, and Pennsyl- 
vania, early in November the pilgrims reached the foot of the 
mountain ranges, and commenced the ascent of those rocky barriers 
which divide the sources of the Susquehanna river from those which 
fall into the Ohio. 

The evening after they left Carlisle, they were overtaken by an 
old acquaintance and neighbor, who was also with his family on his 
way to Muskingum. He had started about the same time with the 
others, with an ox team of three yokes, and by dint of steady and 
late driving, had managed to keep within a day's march of them, 
and here, by making a little extra exertion, he overtook them. Ox 
teams were preferred to horses by many of the early New England 
emigrants, in their long journeys to the new purchase. Probably 
one reason for this was their greater familiarity with their use as 
beasts of draught; another, that they were much better suited to 
work among stumps and logs, and were also much less likely to be 
stolen by the Indians. Their rate of travel was a little slower than 
that of the horse, but they could make about twenty miles a day, 
where the roads were good. 

The roads at that day, across the mountains, were the worst that 
we can imagine, cut into deep gullies on one side by mountain rains, 
while the other was filled with blocks of sandstone. The descents 
were abrupt, and often resembled the breaks in a flight of stone 
stairs, whose lofty steps were built for the children of Titan rather 
than the sons of men. As few of the emigrant wagons were pro- 
vided with lock-chains for the wheels, the downward impetus was 
checked by a large log, or broken tree top, tied with a rope to the 
back of the wagon and dragged along on the ground. In other 
places, the road was so sideling that all the men who could be spared 
were required to pull at the side stays, or short ropes attached to 
9* 



202 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the upper side of the wagons, to prevent their upsetting. By divid- 
ing their forces with Isaac, they made out to prevent any serious 
accidents of this kind, although it seemed many times impossible to 
prevent it. The ground, naturally moist and springy on the sides 
of the mountains, was now rendered very muddy and wet by the 
November rains, which had begun to fall almost daily. As they 
approached the middle and higher ranges, the rain was changed to 
snow and sleet, which added still more to the difficulties and dreari- 
ness of the way. From the weight of the loaded wagons and the 
abrupt acclivities of the road, it fell to the lot of the women and 
children to walk up all the steep ascents it being beyond the power 
of the horses to pull their additional weight up many of the sharp 
pitches of the mountains. Th-3 children often stuck by the way, or 
lost their shoes in the mud, occasioning a world of trouble to the 
elder girls, to whose share it fell to look after the welfare of the little 
ones. 

After crossing the " Blue mountain," the " Middle," and the 
" Tuscarora mountain," late one Saturday evening they descended into 
the u Ah wick valley," and Mr. Rouse's family put up at the house 
of an honest German Dunkard, named Christian Hiples ; while the 
other two teams -went to an old tavern stand, well known to the 
early pack-horsemen and borderers of that region. This was a quiet 
and tolerably fertile valley, environed by mountains. In it was 
seated old " Fort Littleton," and under the protection of its walls 
had sprung up, many years ago, quite a thriving settlement, with a 
number of fine plantations. All this part of the country, and as far 
east as Carlisle, had been, about twenty-five years before, depopu- 
lated by the depredations of the Indians. Many of the present 
inhabitants well remembered those days of trial, and could not see 
these helpless women and children moving so far away into the 
wilderness as Ohio, without expressing their fears at the danger 
they would incur from the deadly hate of the Indians. 

They tarried over the Sabbath, and the following Monday, under 
the hospitable roof of this Christian Dunkard whose long white 
beard, reaching to the waist, greatly excited the curiosity of the 



REBECCA ROUSE. 203 

children. His family consisted of several young women, who treated 
the wayfaring females with great kindness ; heating their huge out- 
of-door oven for them, and assisting them in the baking of a 
large batch of bread for the journey, with many other acts of true 
Christian charity. On Tuesday morning, when they departed, they 
loaded them with potatoes and vegetables from their garden, as 
many as they would venture to carry, without making any charge. 
They parted from them with many prayers and good wishes 
for their welfare on the road, and the happy termination of 
their long and perilous journey. The inhabitants generally treated 
them kindly, and the further they advanced into the confines 
of the wilderness, and left the older settlements, the more hospitality 
abounded. They received them more readily into their houses, and 
more willingly assisted them with their cooking utensils, or any 
other thing they possessed, or the wayfarers needed. 

While the travellers in Rouse's wagon were treated so kindly, 
Isaac, who was excitable and very headstrong, met with rather 
rough usage from the hand of the old inn-keeper with whom 
he put up. This man had been a great bruiser in his younger days, 
and had lost one eye in some of these frays ; a thing not at all un- 
common among the early borderers. He was naturally a rough 
man, and the loss of his eye added still more to his ferocious 
appearance. It seems that he had placed the rounds of the rack, in 
his stable, so close together it was next to impossible for the horses 
to pull any of the hay through, so that, although there was 
plenty before them, they were none the better for it. Isaac could 
not stand quietly by and say nothing, when his hard-working 
horses needed their food so much ; and then to pay for that they 
did not eat besides ! He remonstrated with the landlord on 
the matter, but received only abuse for his pains. After pay- 
ing back a little of the same coin, he fell to work and broke 
out every other round. The old fellow then fell upon Isaac, 
determined to give him a sound beating ; but in this he was sadly 
mistaken, and got very roughly handled himself. The horses, how- 
ever, got plenty of hay, and Isaac told him he should be back 



h-04 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

again in the spring, and if he found the slats replaced, he would give 
him another and still sounder thrashing. 

Three days after leaving the quiet valley, with much exertion and 
many narrow escapes from oversetting, they reached the little 
village of Bedford. During this period they had crossed " Sideling 
hill," forded some of the main branches of the Juniata, and threaded 
the narrow valleys along its borders. Every few miles, long strings 
of pack-horses met them on the road, bearing heavy burthens 
f peltry and ginseng, the two main articles of export from 
he regions west of the mountains. Others overtook them loaded 
,vith kegs of spirits, salt, and bales of dry goods, on their way to the 
traders in Pittsburgh. The fore-horse generally carried a small bell, 
which distinguished him as the leader. One man had the charge of 

o o 

ten horses, which was as many as he could manage by day, and look 
after at nigKt. For many years this was the manner in which 
nearly all the transportation was done over the mountains. The 
roads were nearly impassable for wagons till near the close of the 
Indian war, in 1795. 

One of their greatest trials was in crossing the Alleghanies. Four 
miles beyond Bedford, the road to the right was called the " Pitts- 
burg road," while that to the left was called the " Glade road," and 
led to Simrel's ferry, on the Yohiogany river. This was the route 
of the emigrants, and led, as well as the other, across the Alleghany. 
In passing this formidable barrier, our travellers were belated ; and 
it was nearly midnight before they reached the house where they 
were to lodge. The night was excessively dark ; the whole party, 
except the younger children, were on foot, and could only keep the 
path "by feeling the bushes along the sides of the road. It so hap- 
pened that Michael Rouse and Capt. Haskell, who was their only 
guide, had gone ahead with- the other wagon, and was entirely be- 
yond hail ; leaving Isaac, with Mr. Rouse and all the females, to 
pick their way along the miry road in the best manner they could. 
In the midst of all this gloom, the spirits of the former never flagged 
in the least ; but the more difficulties increased the louder he sang, 
and some of his most^ cheerful ditties were echoed that night from 



KEBECCA BOUSE. 205 

the rocky side of the Alleghany. Mr. Rouse, who had been often 
exposed to winds and storms, could not stand the trudging along, 
ancle deep, in the mud and dark, without venting his feelings in 
many a hearty curse on the vexations of the night. When about a 
mile from the house, they were unexpectedly cheered at hearing the 
lively whistle of Michael ; and directly after, in a turn of the road, 
espied the light of a lantern brought by Capt. Haskell, who had re- 
turned after putting up his own team, to meet the stragglers and 
guide them on the way. A bright fire was blazing on the hearth 
of the little log inn, the warmth and sparkling of which soon restored 
their spirits. It was past midnight before they had cooked and 
eaten their suppers and spread their couches on the puncheon floor 
of the hut. The fatigues of the journey caused them to sleep very 
soundly, and they awoke the next morning with fresh courage to 
meet the trials of the day before them. 

In descending the Alleghany, the children and girls 'were much 
delighted at seeing the side of the road covered with the vivid green 
leaves and bright scarlet berries of the "partridge bush," or " check- 
erberry." It was a common fruit at " The Longplain," and the 
sight of it reminded them of their home and the scenes they had 
left. For a while the little boys forgot the fatigues of the road at 
the sight of this favorite fruit, and cheered each other with joyous 
shouts, as fresh patches from time to time appeared by the side of 
the way. Even the married females were exhilarated by the cheer- 
ful spirits exhibited by the children, and partook freely of the spicy 
fruit which they collected in large handfuls. As they descended 
the western slope of the mountains, the springs of limpid water, 
which gushed fresh and pure from the earth along its sides, now ran 
babbling along to join their puny rills with those of the Ohio. This 
range is the dividing ridge between the eastern and the western 
streams, and the travellers could now see the waters which flowed 
towards the end of their journey. 

After reaching the foot of this picturesque range, they had to cross 
a region called u The Glades," an elevated plateau, which, in many 
points, bore a strong resemblance to the prairies of the west. The 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

soil was dark colored, thinly coated with trees, and covered with 
coarse grass. In crossing " Laurel ridge," which bounds -the west- 
ern side of the glades, and is so named from the profusion of rhodo- 
dendron, or rosebay, and kahnia latifolia, or laurel, which cluster 
along its rocky sides, the girls and older boys had to walk the whole 
distance. The labor was the more difficult from the ground being 
covered with snow, which had fallen to the depth of several inches 
on the sides and top of the ridge, during the last twenty-four hours ; 
while at the same time it had been raining in the valley, or table 
land, between the ranges. The bushes were bent down by the 
weight of the snow, and partly obstructed the path ; so that long 
before they got over, their shoes were saturated with water, and their 
clothes were dribbled and wet half leg high. The " boxberries " still 
showed their bright scarlet faces, peeping out beneath the snow and 
ice, as large as common red cherries. At the western foot of the 
ridge, their road was crossed by a stream too deep for them to ford ; 
and the girls being several miles ahead of the wagons, whose pro- 
gress was very slow, were much rejoiced to find a cabin in which 
they could rest until the teams came up. The rendezvous for the 
night was beyond the creek, as this was the only place where they 
could get feed for their horses. While waiting at this spot, a stout 
young mountaineer, clad in his hunting-frock and leggins, came 
dashing along on a powerful horse, and very kindly, as well as gal- 
lantly, offered to take the girls over the stream, if they would trust 
themselves behind him on the horse, and conduct them safely to the 
house where they were to stop. But his uncouth dress and their 
own natural timidity made them decline the offer, choosing rather 
to wait the arrival of their friends. Just at dark they came up, and 
taking them into the wagons, they crossed the stream more to their 
own liking, if not more safely than under the charge of the young 
.mountaineer. 

The following day they crossed " Chesnut ridge," the last of the 
mountain ranges, so named from the immense forests of chesnut 
trees that clothe its sides and summit, for nearly the whole of its ex- 
tent in Pennsylvania and part of Virginia. The soil is sandy and 



REBECCA BOUSE. 207 

rocky ; and so exactly adapted to the growth of this tree, that no 
part of the world produces it more abundantly. In fruitful years, 
the hogs, from a distance of twenty or thirty miles, were driven by 
the inhabitants, every autumn, to fatten on its fruit. Bears, 
wild turkeys, elk and deer, travelled from afar to this nut-producing 
region, and luxuriated on its bountiful crop. The congregations of 
wild animals, on this favored tract, made it one of the most cele- 
brated hunting grounds, not only for the Indians, but also for 
the white man who succeeded him in the possession of these mountain 
regions. The children here loaded their little pockets with chesnuts, 
and for a while forgot the pinching cold of the half frozen leaves and 
frost covered burrs among which they were scattered. Not long 
after crossing this ridge they reached Simrel's ferry, on the 
Yohiogany river. They hailed this spot with delight, as they were 
to travel no further in their wagons, but finish the journey by 
water. They were also glad on another account ; two of the horses 
had been failing for some days, were now near giving out, and in 
fact died before reaching Buffalo, a small village on the Ohio 
river. 

It was now near the last of November, and winter fast approach- 
ing. In a short time a boat was procured, as they were kept ready 
made for the use of emigrants. The one they bought was about 
forty feet long and twelve feet wide, but without any roof, as they 
could not wait for it to be finished. On board of this they 
put their wagons, and contrived to make a temporary shelter with 
their linen covers. The horses were sent by land across the coun- 
try to Buffalo, at the mouth of Buffalo creek, distant by this route 
only fifty-three miles from the ferry, but more than a hundred by 
water. This was a common practice with the early emigrants, as 
the water of the Yohiogany was too shallow in autumn to float a 
boat drawing over eighteen or twenty inches. In the stern of the 
boat was a rude fire-place for cooking, and their beds were spread 
on the floor of the ark. 

After laying in a stock of food, they pushed merrily out into the 
current of the " Yoh," as it was familiarly called bv the borderers of 



208 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

that region, and floated rapidly along, sometimes grazing on the 
shallows, and at others grounding on the sandbars. By. dint of 
rowing and pushing they made out to get on ; especially after fall- 
ing into the larger current of the Monongahela, and reached Pitts- 
burgh in safety on Sunday evening. They were now at the junction 
of these two noble streams, the Alleghany and Monongahela, and 
saw the waters of the charming Ohio, the object of all their toils; 
and were, apparently, at the end of their journey. Near the point 
of land where the Ohio first takes its name, they landed their un- 
couth and unwieldy water-craft, making it fast to a stake on the 
bank. It was late in the afternoon, and the men went up into the 
town to purchase some articles needed to make the families com- 
fortable in their downward voyage. Pittsburg then contained four 
or five hundred inhabitants, and several retail stores, and a small 
garrison of troops was kept up in Old Fort Pitt. To our travellers, 
who had lately seen nothing but trees and rocks, with here and 
there a solitary hut, it seemed to be quite a large town. The 
houses were chiefly built of logs, but now and then one had begun 
to assume the appearance of neatness and comfort. 

Capt. Haskell and Mr. Rouse, for some cause now forgotten, did 
not return to lodge in the boat, but stayed at the tavern ; Michael, 
Isaac, and Gushing had gone overland with the horses, so that the 
women and children were left alone in the boat. In the middle of 
the night, one of the older boys was awakened by the water coming 
into his bed on the floor. lie immediately raised an outcry, and 
in the midst of the darkness, bustle, and confusion of the moment, 
they found the boat was half leg deep in the water. Great was the 
consternation of the older females, who thought, not without reason, 
that they must all be drowned. It so happened that the water was 
not very deep where the boat was moored, and as the gunwales 
rested on the bottom at the depth of two or three feet, it could sink 
no further. This disaster was occasioned by the falling of the river 
during the night ; the land side of the boat rested on the shore, 
while the outer corner settled in the stream until the water ran 
through the seams in the planking above the gunwale they being 



. a. 



REBECCA BOUSE. 209 

badly caulked. They hurried on shore as fast as they could. A 
kind-hearted man, by the name of Kilbreath, whose house stood on 
the bank near the boat, heard the screams of the children, and 
taking a light came to their assistance. He invited them all up to 
his house and provided them lodging by a good warm fire ; he then 
called some men to his aid, and before morning, got the wet articles 
out of the boat, and assisted the females in drying them. When 
Mr. Rouse and Capt. Haskell came back in the morning, they were 
much chagrined at the accident ; as had they been on board, they 
thought it could have been prevented. The next morning Mr. 
Kilbreath gave them all a nice warm breakfast, and like the good 
Samaritan, would take nothing but their grateful thanks for his 
trouble. Having baled out the boat and got her once more afloat, 
they reloaded their household goods, got on board a stock of pro- 
visions, and prepared to renew their voyage in the course of the 
day. 

Ft so happened that there was an old trapper and hunter by the 
name of Bruce, who was familiar with the river, just ready to start 
down stream in a large canoe, or pereauger, on a trapping expedition 
for the winter, on some of the more southern waters ; him they 
engaged for a pilot, as was the custom in those early days, although 
there was but little or no danger from the intricacy of the channel. 
His canoe was about forty feet long, and had on board a barrel of 
flour, some fat bacon, four beaver traps, a camp kettle, two tin cups, 
and a light axe. These, with his rifle, blanket, and ammunition,' 
formed his stock for the winter. The canoe was lashed alongside 
the boat, and he came on board as pilot. 

It was near the middle of the afternoon, on Monday, when they 
put out from Pittsburgh. The day had been cloudy and threatened 
rain from the south. Just at evening the wind shifted to the north- 
west and blew quartering across the bend of the river in which they 
were then floating. It soon rose to a complete gale, and knocked up 
such a sea, as threw the crests of the waves over the side of the 
boat, threatening to upset, if not sink, the unwieldy craft. In this 
dilemma, the pilot and all hands exerted their utmost at the oars, to 



210 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bring the boat to land on tne " Federal," or Pennsylvania shore ; but 
the wind and the waves were both adverse. The boat could have 
been landed on the right, or " Indian shore," but they feared to do 
so, lest in the night they should fall into the hands of the Indians, 
who although it was apparently a time of peace, robbed the 
boats and killed the straggling whites at every favorable opportunity. 
The large pereauger bounded and thumped against the side of the 
boat, threatening to break in the planks, and was cut loose by the 
hand of the pilot. In this extremity, when every fresh wave threat- 
ened to overwhelm them, Bruce cried out to his shipmates, in a 
voice that was easily heard above the storm, " We must put over to 
the Indian shore, or every man, woman and child will be lost !" 
Previous to this, the more feeble portion of the passengers had kept 
tolerably quiet, although exceedingly alarmed ; but this announce- 
ment, to the women and children, sounded like their death knell, 
and the boat instantly resounded with their screams of despair. 
Capt. Haskell, who had been accustomed to perils of various kinds, 
and was a man of iron nerves, did what he could to calm their 
terrors. Bruce, who was in fact a skilful pilot, as well as a brave 
man, instantly laid the bow of the boat over to the Indian shore. 
The wind and the waves both favored the movement, and with a 
little aid from the oars in a few minutes she was riding in safety 
under a high point of land, which sheltered them from the wind in 
comparatively quiet water. 

The sudden transition from the jaws of death to this tranquil 
haven, filled the hearts of the females with songs of gratitude ; and 
the boat was hardly moored to the bank before they sprung upon 
the land, rejoiced once more to tread the solid earth, although it was 
the dreaded Indian shore. Bruce soon kindled a fire by the side of 
a large fallen tree, and setting up some forked sticks and poles, 
stretched some blankets across, in such a way as to make a rude 
tent. Beneath this shelter they spread their beds, choosing rather 
to risk the chance of an attack from Indians than to trust themselves 
on the water again that night. From the hunting camp of some 
white men, whose smoke the pilot had noticed just before the storm 



REBECCA ROUSE. 211 

came on, he procured a fine fat saddle of venison, and tbe whole 
party feasted with cheerful hearts that evening on the nice steaks of 
this delicious meat. Some they broiled on the coals, while Bruce 
showed them how to roast it, hunter fashion, on a hickory skewer 
filled full of pieces and stuck up in the earth before the fire ; this, 
with a cup of not^coffee, furnished a very comfortable meal. They 
slept undisturbed that night ; though ever and anon, the sighing of 
the winds in the tops of the trees led the more timid of the females 
to fancy they heard the stealthy approach of Indians. 

In the morning, the ground was covered with snow to the depth 
of several inches, which had fallen while they were asleep. The day 
following the storm was fine and pleasant, and the smooth, calm 
surface of the Ohio exhibited a striking contrast to the tumult and 
uproar which had agitated its bosom only a few hours before. From 
Fort Mclntosh, at the mouth of the Beaver, to the new settlement at 
Muskingum, no white man had dared to plant himself on the Indian 
shore of the river, with the exception of a small blockhouse a few 
miles below Buffalo, which some hunters had built as a place to 
which they might retreat if attacked by their enemies, while out 
hunting in the region west of the river. Even here there was little 
or no clearing, and all else was unbroken wilderness. They embarked 
early in the morning and reached Buffalo that evening. In the course 
of the forenoon they found the pereauger of Bruce lodged on the 
shore and filled with water. It still contained the barrel of flour, 
meat, axe, etc., with all the traps but one. The buoyancy of the 
light poplar wood of which it was made, prevented it from sinking, 
and the ballast of the traps, axe, etc., from upsetting ; so that, quite 
unexpectedly, the old trapper recovered his boat and goods, which 
he had given up as utterly lost. At Buffalo, they were greeted with 
the loud laugh and boisterous welcome of Isaac, who, with Michael 
and Shaw, had been waiting one or two days with the horses for 
their arrival. 

The women and children, still impressed with dread lest another 
Btorm should overtake them, concluded to lodge on shore, and ac- 
cordingly took quarters for the night on the floor of a small log hut 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

that stood at the extremity of the point of land at the mouth of 
Buffalo creek. In the morning Mrs. Devoll came near losing a part 
of her bedding. A gaily ornamented new woollen blanket had 

o o / 

attracted the attention of Mrs. Riley, the mistress of the cabin, as it 
lay spread over the sleepers in the night, and in the hurry and 
bustle of rolling up the bed clothes, she adroitly managed to secrete 
it among her own bedding, stowed away in the corner of the room. 
Mrs. Devoll soon missed it, and after a careful but fruitless search 
among her own things, did not hesitate to accuse the woman of se- 
creting it. She roundly denied any knowledge of the blanket. Being 
a resolute woman, and determined not to give it up in this way, Mrs. 
Devoll made an overhauling of Mrs. Riley's chattels, when much to 
the chagrin and disappointment of the border woman, she pulled 
out the lost article, rolled up in her dingy bedding. Thinking they 
had recovered all the missing goods, they hurried aboard their boat 
at the exciting call of Isaac, who was ready to depart, and in no 
very good humor with the hospitality of Mrs. Riley At Wheeling, 
where they stopped for some milk, they discovered, much to their 
vexation, that they had also lost a new two-quart measure, which 
they had brought all the way with them for the purpose of measur- 
ing the milk they should need to purchase on the road. In a few 
years after this adventure, during the Indian war, this family of 
Rileys, who still lived in the same spot, were all massacred by the. 
savages. 

At Grave creek they took on board a stout, hearty old man, as a 
passenger, by the name of Green. He assisted Bruce and their crew, 
each by taking turns at the oars and rowing all night, and with the 
music of Isaac and the old man, who proved an excellent singer, they 
made out to reach the mouth of Muskinguni just at dark on Thurs- 
day evening, the fourth day after leaving Pittsburg. Ice had been 
making in the Ohio for the last twenty-four hours, and the travellers 
were fortunate in arriving as they did, for the following morning the 
Muskingum river was frozen over from shore to shore. Great was 
the consternation of Mrs. Rouse, who had an instinctive dread of 
Indians, at seeing the woods and side hill, back of Fort Harmer, 



REBECCA ROUSE. 213 

lighted up with a multitude of fires, when she was told that they 
were the camp fires of three hundred savages. They had come in 
to a treaty, which was held the ninth of January following. It was 
early in December, and the emigrants had been more than eight 
weeks on the road. The news of their arrival was soon carried to 
Campus Marti us, the name of the new garrison. Capt. Devoll hur- 
ried on board, delighted once more to embrace his wife and children, 
from whom he had been absent more than a year. Their goods and 
chattels were put into the "Mayflower," which was used^as a receiv- 
ing boat for the emigrants, and with the women and children, landed 
at the Ohio company's wharf. Devoll had built a comfortable two- 
story house in one of the curtains of the garrison, to which all were 
removed that night, and his happy family slept once more under 
their own roof, in the far distant region of the Northwest Territory. 

The following spring, a company or association was formed to 
commence the settlement fourteen miles below, on the right bank of 
the Ohio, afterwards called Belprie. Capt. Devoll, Mr. Rouse, 
Michael, Capt. Haskell and Isaac, joined this association. The latter 
returned to New England, and moved out his family in the fall of 
1789. By the time the settlers were about to begin to reap a little 
of the fruits of their hard labor, in clearing land, building cabins, etc., 
the Indian war broke out, and they were all driven into garrison for 
some five years. Many were the dangers and hardships they here 
endured, suffering most from the small pox and scarlatina maligna. 

In the summer of 1790, Bathsheba Rouse taught a school of 
young boys and girls at Belprie, which is believed to be the first 
school of white children ever assembled within the bounds of the 
present State of Ohio. The Moravian missionaries had Indian schools 
at Gnadenhutten and Schonbrunn, on the Tuscarawas, as early as 
the year 1779, eleven years before this time. She also taught for 
several successive summers within the walls of " Farmer's Castle," 
the name of the stout garrison built by the settlers sixteen miles 
below Marietta. After the close of the war the colonists moved out 
upon their farms. Mr. Rouse and his family remained in Belprie. 
Bathsheba married, soon after the close of the war, Richard, the son 



214: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of Griffen Greene, one of the Ohio company's agents, and a leading 
man in all public affairs. Cynthia married the Hon. Paul Fearing, 
the first delegate to Congress from the Northwest Territory, and for 
many years a judge of the court. Elizabeth married Levi Barber, 
for many years receiver of public moneys, and member of Con- 
gress for this district during two sessions. The children of these 
emigrant females, for wealth and respectability, rank among the 
first of our citizens. 

Thus closes this sketch of the early emigrants to Muskingum, 
whose adventures are only the counterpart of other families who 
crossed the Alleghany ranges in the year 1788. It is in fact a por- 
tion of the early history of Ohio, and should be preserved for the 
same reasons that Virgil has preserved the incidents of the voyage 
of ^Eneas from Troy to Italy they were the founders of a new 
state. Those days of hardship cannot be reviewed with other than 
feelings of the highest respect for the individuals who dared to brave 
the difficulties and uncertainties of a pioneer life.* 

* The foregoing memoir is much shortened from the original one by Dr. 
Hildreth. 



XII. 

SARAH SIBLEY. 

SARAH W. SPROAT was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on the 
28th of January, 1782. She was the only child of Col. Ebenezer 
Sproat, a gallant and accomplished officer of the Revolution, and the 
granddaughter of Commodore Abraham Whipple, who also repeat- 
edly distinguished himself during that war by his activity and 
bravery. At the commencement of the struggle, Commodore Whip- 
pie was wealthy, but had impoverished himself by his advances to 
Government in fitting out vessels and men for the public service, for 
which he was never remunerated, and at its close found he could no 
longer sustain the style of living befitting his position in society, and 
to which he was accustomed. His son-in-law, Col. Sproat, was in 
the same situation, and both being too proud and high-spirited to 
conform patiently to their change of circumstances, they determined 
to join a party of their companions-in-arms, who were about to seek 
a new home in the yet unexplored wilderness of the West. 

They were of the advance party who landed in 1788 at the mouth 
of the Muskingum, and commenced the settlement of Marietta. 
Burnet says in his notes " The early adventurers to the North- 
western Territory were generally men who had spent the prime of 
their lives in the war of Independence. Many of them had ex- 
hausted their fortunes in maintaining the desperate struggle, and 



216 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

retired to tne wilderness to conceal their poverty, and avoid compari- 
sons mortifying to their pride, while struggling to maintain their 
families and improve their condition. Some were young men de- 
scended from Revolutionary patriots who had fallen in the contest, or 
brcame too feeble to endure the fatigue of settling a wilderness. 
Others were adventurous spirits, to whom any change might be for 
.the better." 

The following year the new settlers were joined by their families. 
It is difficult now to conceive the extent of the difficulties against 
which these pioneers had to contend, besides the dangers that sur- 
rounded them. So great was the difficulty of transportation that 
they were only able to bring the most simple necessaries of life with 
them. After their cabins were built, some of them were for months 
without other doors than blankets,, and with no furniture but the 
boxes and trunks they had brought, which were com r erted into seats, 
beds, and tables as the occasion required ; and just as they were be- 
coming comfortable in their new homes, the fearful Indian war 
broke out, and every day brought fresh accounts of horrible murders 
committed in the immediate vicinity, almost at their doors. Col. 
Sproat determined to remove his daughter to a place of safety, where 
she might at the same time receive the necessary instruction which 
during the existing disturbances she could not enjoy at home. 

The Moravian school at Bethlehem then bore a high reputation, 
and in 1792, when Miss Sproat was but ten years old, she accom- 
panied her father over the mountains to Bethlehem, most of the way 
on horseback ; a journey that would be thought formidable at the 
present day. She remained there three years, and then went to 
Philadelphia to receive lessons in some accomplishments which she 
had no opportunities for acquiring in Bethlehem. She resided while 
in that city in the family of a friend of her father's, and became 
strongly attached to its members. She made many warm friends 
in Philadelphia, and left it with regret. But her father had become 
impatient for her return, and went for her in the spring of 1797. 
He at that time purchased a piano for her in Philadelphia, the first 
taken west of the Alleghany mountains. 



i 



SARAH SIBLEY. 217 

On her return, she found Marietta much changed and improved- 
the inhabitants were no longer in fear of Indian incursions, and many 
new settlers had been added to their number. It had become quite 
a town, with a very pleasant society, and the danger they had shared 
in common had tended to strengthen the bond which already united 
the early colonists. 

The years intervening between Miss Sproat's return and her mar- 
riage, passed away swiftly and happily. Being the only child, she 
was of course much caressed by her parents, and her natural gaiety 
and affectionate, generous disposition made her a favorite with her 
young friends. Her father had taken great pains to make her an 
accomplished horsewoman, arid she was the constant companion of 
his rides. To this habit of exercise she was indebted for the ease 
with which she made the long and fatiguing journeys she was com- 
pelled to take in after life. 

After the establishment of the Northwest Territorial Government 
the General Court had its sessions alternately at Cincinnati, Detroit, 
and Marietta. Mr. Sibley was a young lawyer of high standing, who 
had removed from Massachusetts to Ohio in 1797, and soon after- 
wards to Detroit. Judge Burnet says of him " He possessed a 
sound mind, improved by a liberal education, and a stability and 
firmness of character which commanded general respect, and secured 
to him the confidence and esteem of his fellow members." He 
constantly attended the sessions of the Court, and was of course 
frequently in Marietta. It was there that he first became acquainted 
with Miss Sproat. They were married in October, 1802, but she 
did not go to Detroit until the following spring. 

The way to Detroit at that time was by the Ohio river to Pitts- 
burg, across to Erie, and thence by water to Detroit ; the least 
fatiguing but a very tedious route. Being entirely at the mercy of 
wind and weather, travellers were often ten days crossing the lake, 
and in one instance a family was detained three weeks between Erie 
and the city of the straits. 

Mrs. Sibley was warmly welcomed on her arrival by her husband's 
friends, and so kindly treated that she soon felt at home. The 
10 



218 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

society was delightful at that time. The fort was strongly garrisoned, 
and most of the officers were Southerners, possessing the warmth 
and ease of manner peculiar to the South. The inhabitants of the 
town and its vicinity were principally French. Some of these were 
descendants of noble families in France, and prided themselves upon 
their superior polish and refinement. For about six months in the 
year all communication with the rest of the world was cut off by 
ice and snow. At these seasons the people seemed determined to 
make up for their isolation by increased sociability among them- 
selves, and every one kept open house. Some very agreeable per- 
sons resided on the opposite side of the river, families of British 
merchants who had formerly lived in Detroit, but on its cession to 
the Americans had removed to Canada. A constant intercourse had 
always been kept up, and they joined in all the gaieties of the 
place. 

In August, 1804, Col. Sproat came to Detroit to take his daugh- 
ter home to visit her mother. As public business required Mr. Sib- 
ley's attendance at Washington during the winter, it was arranged 
that Mrs. Sibley should return with her father to Marietta, and 
remain until the following spring. Their journey was made on 
horseback. The whole of the northern part of Ohio was at that 
time a dense wilderness, and travellers were obliged to camp out at 
night. Mrs. Sibley often spoke of an incident which occurred on 
this journey. The horse she rode was one which Col. Sproat 
had brought on expressly for his daughter's use, and was a great 
favorite. He was unfortunately taken sick on the way, and with 
difficulty they reached a spot suitable to encamp for the night. 
Everything possible was done for the relief of the poor animal, but 
all was in vain, and it was most distressing to hear his groans of 
agony. The woods around seemed to be swarming with wolves 
attracted by the cries of the horse, and they yelled and howled like 
so many demons. The fires around the camp were all that prevented 
them from rushing upon its ' inmates. Mrs. Sibley said she never 
spent such a fearful night. The poor horse died towards morning, 



SARAH SIBLEY. 219 

and they left him with regret. Their journey was a long and 
fatiguing one, but they arrived in safety at Marietta. 

It was providentially ordered that Mrs. Sibley should spend that 
winter at home, for she was thus enabled to cheer her father's last 
days by her presence. In February, without any previous warning, 
he was attacked by apoplexy, and died immediately. He was yet 
in the prime of life, being only fifty years old, and was generally 
regretted. His death was a heavy affliction to his daughter, for the 
tie had been unusually strong that existed between them ; inheriting 
many of his traits of character, she had been his companion and had 
shared with him many daring adventures. He had almost idolized 
her, and she was equally devoted to him. Col. Sproat had many 
warm friends among his brother officers. The family still have in 
their possession a miniature of him painted by Kosciusko. They 
were intimate friends, and it was taken while they were together in 
winter-quarters during the Revolution. Burr, on his first visit to 
Ohio, is said to have shed tears over the grave of his old fellow- 
soldier. 

Mrs. Sibley remained with her mother until the following sum- 
mer, her husband having in the mean time returned from Washing- 
ton to Detroit. In June, 1805, that city was entirely destroyed by 
fire. An extract from a letter written at that time by Mr. Sibley to 
his wife, will give an idea of the loss of property and the suffering 
that ensued. "June 16, We are all, without a single exception, 
unhoused. The town of Detroit was on the llth inst. in the courso 
of three hours reduced to ashes. You can readily conceive the 
consternation and Consequent confusion that prevailed. Much per- 
sonal property, household furniture and merchandize fell a sacrifice 
to the devouring element. I had, from my situation, the good for- 
tune to save our property from the fire, but from the bustle that 
prevailed, and the thefts committed, I have suffered considerably. 
We have been exerting ourselves since the fire to relieve the distres- 
sed. They are numerous, and demand every exertion we can make 
in their favor. The houses up and down the settlement are full, 
and for want of room many families still remain encamped in the 



220 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

open air. The gentlemen from the other side have been liberal in 
furnishing provisions, which are still much wanted. 

" My own loss, as compared with that of the citizens in general, is so 
trifling that I have scarcely thought seriously upon the subject. The 
want of a house, added to the entire suspension of business, is 
the greatest inconvenience I experience. I believe the present scene 
presents a phenomenon rarely to be met with ; a whole town burned 
with the exception of a single dwelling-house standing. What 
measures will be adopted in rebuilding Detroit it is yet uncertain. 
A number of us are exerting ourselves in order that we may procure 
more room by widening the streets. A meeting will be held at Mr. 
May's to-morrow, when the subject will be discussed ; the result 
will be uncertain. What a gloomy prospect for our Governor, etc., 
when they arrive ! Not a single house for his reception or accommo- 
dation. Our country was sufficiently poor before the late disaster 
what will become of a number of poor persons I know not, unless 
some benevolent aid is offered from abroad. This last resource ap- 
pears doubtful. We are not known in the States, therefore we havo 
but little expectation that they will interest themselves for our 
relief." 

Mr. Sibley fitted up an old house which was then considered 
quite a distance from town, a large open common intervening ; situ- 
ated on the square opposite " the Biddle House," now in the very 
heart of the city. He occupied the same house until 1835, a period 
of thirty years. As soon as it was rendered comfortable he went to 
Marietta for his wife. Michigan had only lately been organized into 
a territory, and upon the arrival of the newly appointed governor, 
Gen. Hull, Detroit was a perfect scene of desolation. He was 
obliged to build a house immediately, for there was not one for him 
to live in. The house he erected was considered a splendid one at 
that time, and was the same afterwards known as the American 
Hotel, which was burned in the fire of 1848. On Mrs. Sibley's 
return, she again travelled on horseback, but only as far as San- 
dusky, from which place they came in a vessel. 

But few events worthy of note occurred during the interval be- 



SATCAH STBLEY. 221 

tween her return and the war of 1812. She was then the mother 
of three children, and for their sake, even more than for her own, 
looked forward with dread to the prospect of another war. The 
events of that war, as connected with Detroit, are too well known 
to require a repetition here. Although exposed to so much danger, 
Mrs. Sibley remained with her husband, and in all the trials and 
horrors of that eventful time, bore herself most courageously. 

At the time an attack upon the town was expected, it was 
thought advisable to place the women and children for greater secu- 
rity within the fort. During the terrible day of the cannonade, 
Mrs. Sibley said that not one woman gave way to fear; that she 
never saw so much courage displayed. All seemed nerved by the 
exigencies of the time, and by the very danger to which they were 
exposed. They busied themselves in giving the only assistance in. 
their power, making cartridges, and scraping lint for the wounded. 
Som4 dreadful scenes occurred on that day. In the room adjoining 
that in which the ladies were collected, four officers were shot by one 
ball. One of these was Mr. Sibley's cousin. When the news was 
announced of the surrender, the feeling of regret and indignation 
expressed was intense. They were all prepared for danger, but not 
for disgrace. As the American soldiers were marched out of the 
fort, Mrs. Dyson, the wife of an officer, collected all the clothing under 
the charge of the commissary, and threw it out of a window to the 
soldiers as they passed by, declaring that the British should not 
benefit by it. 

After the surrender, Mr. Sibley applied to Gen. Proctor for per- 
mission to go on with his family to Ohio. It was denied at first, 
but afterwards granted, giving him only two days to make his pre- 
parations. Thus hastily they left their home, to remain until hap- 
pier times. The vessel in which they embarked was a very small 
one, and exceedingly crowded, but there was no alternative ; and 
with heavy hearts they sailed for Erie. They remained with Mrs. 
Sibley's friends a year. As soon as Detroit was given up to the 
Americans they started on their return, but when they reached 
Cleveland found that it was rather late in the season, the few vessels 



222 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

then on the lake being laid up for the winter ; and as it was impos- 
sible to go by land with a family of children they were obliged to 
remain there all winter. Cleveland was then but a small settlement, 
and separated by a dense wilderness from the southern towns of 
Ohio. During the time the lake was closed, the transportation of 
all articles was attended with great difficulty and expense, conse- 
quently every thing was enormously high. Mr. Sibley had ex- 
pected to reach home before the winter, and was little prepared 
for such a detention. He had lost greatly by the war, and the utter 
cessation of all business for such a length of time with one who 
depended upon his profession for the support of his family, had so 
crippled his means that his inability to proceed homeward was ex- 
cessively inconvenient to him. The family was treated with much 
kindness, but had to submit to great privation and discomfort, and 
they were heartily glad when the return of spring allowed them to 

return to Detroit. 



Mrs. Sibley made but one more visit to Ohio, and that was in 
1819. She then received intelligence of the deaths, within a short 

o / 

time of each other, of her aged grandparents, the venerable old 
Commodore and Mrs. Whipple. Mrs. Sproat being thus left en- 
tirely alone, as she had no other relatives in the west, she wrote 
to her daughter that if she could oome for her she would return 
with her to Michigan. 

Mrs. Sibley did not hesitate, but leaving her family under the 
charge of a faithful servant, set out on her journey. She went 
under the care of a gentleman from Detroit, and to save fatigue 
went as far as San dusky in the new steamboat, "Walk in the 
"Water," the first steamboat that ever ran on Lake Erie. 

They sent their horses by a servant to meet them at Sandusky. 
This journey to Marietta was the last ever taken by Mrs. Sibley on 
horseback. She remained in Ohio only long enough to complete 
the preparations for Mrs. Sproat's removal. They returned by stage, 
as Mrs.- Sproat was too old to undertake the journey on horseback. 
Mrs. Sproat remained with her daughter until her death, which 
took place in 1832. 



SARAH SIBLEY. 223 

The most eventful part of Mrs. Sibley's life was now past. Henco- 
forth her time was principally occupied with the duties incumbent 
upon a wife and mother, and these were well and faithfully per- 
formed. A large family grew up around her, in whose minds it 
was ever her constant endeavor to instil such high principles as 
should make them true to themselves and useful members of society. 
To her most truly could the scriptural passage be applied, " Her 
children shall rise up and call her blessed." 

It is difficult to convey an adequate idea of the actual condition 
of this portion of the great Mississippi valley in its transition state, 
or the important part in the formation of its daily life that fell to the 
lot of a pioneer matron. Of all these, there was not one better fitted 
by nature and education for the time and place than this noble 
woman. Blessed with a commanding person, a vigorous and culti- 
vated intellect, undaunted courage, and an intuitive and clear percep- 
tion of right and wrong, she exercised great influence upon the 
society in which she lived. Affectionate in disposition, frank in 
manner, and truly just as well as benevolent, she was during her 
whole married life the centre of an admiring circle of devoted friends. 
As age crept on, and disease confined her to the fireside, she still 
remained the object of profound and marked respect to the people 
of the city which had grown up around her, and when at length she 
was " gathered to her fathers," she died, as she had always lived, 
without one to cast a reproach upon her elevated and beautiful 
character. 

A revolution like that of 1776 the surrender upon the altar of 
their country of the fortunes of the brave men who led the way to 
freedom the poverty of the government and its consequent inability 
to repay these losses the resulting necessity of making a home 
among the savages of a great wilderness, and reducing that wilder- 
ness to a state of law, order, and refinement ; these were circum- 
stances well fitted to develope the strong traits of character in the 
men and women of the great West. They cannot recur, and 
therefore we cannot expect again to see such a race. They have 
passed away, and henceforward we may expect what has always 



224: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

accompanied an age of refinement, the softening down of strong 
points of character, and in too many instances, enervation and 
effeminacy. 

The husband of this honored lady, the Hon. Solomon Sibley, 
was for many years one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the 
territory of Michigan. He lived to be not only the last relic of the 
ancient bar of Michigan proper, dating back to 1798, but also the 
last remaining link connecting the profession in that State of the 
present day with that of the Northwest Territory, of which he was 
a member previous to his removal to Detroit. 

lie was a native of Massachusetts, and was admitted to the bar 
in Virginia. In 1797, he practised law with his friend Judge 
Burnet, of Cincinnati. In 1799, having removed to Detroit, he was 
elected to the first territorial legislature of the Northwest Territory 
as representative for the county of Wayne, which then embraced 
the present State of Michigan. This body held its sessions in Cin- 
cinnati. In the records of the Historical Society of Ohio, Judge 
Sibley is mentioned as " among the most talented men of the 
House." That he was held in the highest estimation by his fellow- 
citizens, is evinced by the fact, that as early as 1802 the electors of 
the town of Detroit voted him the freedom of the corporation " for 
his eminent services in behalf of the people of the territory." 

In the uniform, quiet, and unostentatious devotion of his time and 
talents to the interests of his country, Judge Sibley continued to 
receive marked evidences of universal respect and confidence, till 
compelled by physical infirmity to retire from public life. In his 
public relation of United States Commissioner associated with Gen. 
Cass to negotiate the treaty by which the Indian title to a large part 
of the peninsula of Michigan was extinguished; as delegate repre- 
senting the territory of Michigan in Congress ; as District Attorney 
of the United States, and as Judge of the Supreme Court of 
Michigan, he won, as he well merited, the affection, respect and 
entire confidence of his contemporaries and associates. All who 
were acquainted with him in private life cherished the highest 
respect and veneration for the character he had so justly acquired 



SARAH SIBLEY. 225 

and sustained during a long and well spent life. In all private rela- 
tions, lie showed himself amiable, pure, and true to the various 
interests confided to him ; in public ones, faithful, upright, and 
honorable ; a sound and able lawyer, an impartial, honest, and dis- 
criminating judge. 

For several years before his death, his health being too infirm for 
public duty, he gave himself up to the enjoyments of a happy home, 
where, surrounded by friends, he was gathered to his fathers, 
April 4th, 1846, aged seventy-seven. The members of the bar of 
Detroit, and officers of the respective courts assembled to express 
their regret, and esteem for his noble character, and wore mourning 
for the usual time. 



XIII. 

MARY DUNLEVY. 

FEW among the pioneer mothers presented in their lives a more 
impressive example of the patient perseverance, courage, and energy 
of character which distinguished the matrons of that day, than the 
subject of the present brief sketch. The materials have been com- 
municated by one of her family, whose recollections enable him to 
describe much of her experience in building a home in the wilder- 
ness. 

Mary Craig was of Scottish parentage, and was born on the voy- 
age from Scotland to America, about the year 1765. The family 
then came to settle in New York. At the commencement of the 
Revolutionary struggle, Mary was but ten years old, but she could 
understand that the people were unjustly oppressed, and her feelings 
were warmly interested in favor of the patriots. Her father had died 
soon after reaching the country, and she, with an elder sister and a 
younger brother, formed the little family under her mother's care. 
Their circumstances were comfortable, though they were not wealthy, 
and but for the outbreak of war, they would probably have remained 
together. The vicissitudes and dangers to which the inhabitants of 
the city were subjected by the approach of a hostile force, and the 
occupation of New York by British troops, caused no little alarm to 
Mrs. Craig for the safety of herself and children ; she had few friends 



MARY DUNLEVY. 227 

in the strange land, and it therefore can hardly be wondered at that, 
renewing acquaintance with a gentleman whom she had known in 
Scotland now an officer in the British navy she listened favorably 
to his addresses, and finally married him. Her husband, of course, 
was a loyalist, and Mary had by this time become so thoroughly 
imbued with republican principles, that no kindness on the part of 
her stepfather could reconcile her to the restraints to which she was 
subjected in the family, in the expression of political opinions. It 
was not long before she left her home in the city, and went to reside 
at the house of Dr. Halstead, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. This 
proved to be a final separation from the other members of her family. 
Her sister soon after married an Englishman, and went to England ; 
and when New York was evacuated by the British, her stepfather, 
with her mother, brother, and an infant half-sister, went with other 
refugees to Nova Scotia, Mary bore her part, meanwhile, in the 
apprehension and dangers to which the inhabitants of Elizabethtown 
were exposed during the war from the frequent incursions of the 
enemy. She repeatedly risked her life in endeavors to save the 
property of her friends from destruction, which she would do by 
earnest appeals to the invaders, trusting that her youth would ensure 
her own safety. On one occasion a sword was drawn upon her, 
with a threat that she should be killed if she did not leave the room ; 
but she persisted, and finally saved the property threatened. She 
was often occupied during the whole day or night in running bullets, 
or in attendance upon the wounded or dying. When the better 
time arrived, she witnessed the triumphal march of Gen. Washington 
on his way to New York, being one of a number of young girls who 
strewed the road with flowers as he passed. The disasters of a 
tedious war were soon forgotten in rejoicings for the establishment of 
liberty and peace ; but for Mary the anxious part of life's drama was 
but just commenced. In 1787 she was married to James Carpenter. 
The Northwest Territory, and especially the Miami country, was at 
that time much talked about, considerable excitement prevailing on 
the subject of emigration to the West, and Carpenter had recently 
returned from a visit of exploration to the Miami purchase in com- 



228 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

pany with Judge Symmes and others. He was so much pleased 
with the new country that he determined to settle there, and Mary's 
inclination corresponded to his own. They left New Jersey with the 
first little colony of Judge Symmes, reached Limestone, now Mays- 
ville, Kentucky, late in the autumn of 1788, and the men, and a 
few of the stronger among the women, immediately repaired to 
Columbia, near the mouth of the Little Miami, five miles above the 
site of Cincinnati. Here they commenced building a log fort and 
cabins for the different families of the settlers, and laying out fields 
and gardens for cultivation the next spring, while the feebler mem- 
bers of the company remained in Kentucky during the winter. 

In the spring, the fort being completed, all the settlers took up 
their residence at the locality selected. The families occupied the 
cabins built for them, but whenever there was an alarm of the ap- 
proach of hostile Indians, they fled to the garrison, which was de- 
fended with all the strength of the colony, and the enemy chased 
away when not in large parties. Yet, notwithstanding the utmost 
precaution, the steal Jhy marauders sometimes succeeded in carrying 
off property and capturing prisoners, and even in killing several per- 
sons in the settlement. Mary, whose childhood had been familiar 
with the terrors of civil war, and whose heart was stout and resolute, 
was to be tried by the severest of sorrows. Carpenter's arduous 
labors during the first winter and spring in clearing the ground and 
assisting to raise the buildings, had caused a hemorrhage of the 
lungs, the effects of which brought on a decline, terminating in his 
death in less than two years. Mary was thus left with two young 
children, without a relative to protect her, in the midst of a wilderness, 
surrounded by savage foes ; but her courage and resolution did not 
falter under accumulated trials. She knew that her children had no 
dependence except on her care and labors, and trusting in the Pro- 
vidence whose kindness watches over the widow and the fatherless, 
she determined to lean, with her helpless babes, on His protection and 
guidance, and perform with untiring energy the duties that lay be- 
fore her. She was urged to take up her residence in the fort, as 
she could not otherwise be safe from the frequent assaults of the 



MARY DUNLEVY. 229 

savages ; but she persisted in remaining in her cabin, notwithstand- 
ing the remonstrances of her neighbors, and although her home was 
several hundred yards from the blockhouse. Her wounded heart 
preferred solitude to society ; the more so as in the promiscuous 
company frequently assembled in the garrison, the rough oaths of 
the soldiers might frequently be heard, and she resolved to risk liv- 
ing alone, rather than be distressed by associations repulsive to her 
delicate and sensitive nature. At the same . time she planned the 
measures she would take in the event of danger, leaving the result 
with Him in whom her trust was placed. Beneath the puncheon 
lloor laid in every cabin, there was generally dug a small cellar in 
which vegetables might be kept secure from frost. Every night she 
lifted one of these pieces of timber, and placed her children in a rough 
bed she had made in the cellar. As soon as they were asleep, the 
puncheon was laid down, and the mother took her position where 
she could see the Indians, when approaching, at a considerable dis- 
tance, Here she would sit during the whole night, engaged, in the 
hours of wakefulness, in knitting or such housework as could be 
performed without any other light than from smothered embers not 
permitted to give out the slightest blaze. When the youngest child 
waked and required nursing, she would lift the puncheon, and sit 
on the edge of the opened floor till it was lulled to sleep, then de- 
posit it once more in the secret bed and close the floor over it. Her 
resolution was taken, should the Indians attack one door, to make 
her escape by the opposite one to the fort, give the alarm, and bring 
the men to rescue her children before the foe could discover their 
hiding-place. Her fears were not groundless ; the Indians were 
often seen by her prowling about the little village, and on several 
occasions, when all was dark and still, they came to the door of her 
cabin, and attempted to enter. Finding the door barred, however, 
they did not, for some reason or other, attempt to force it ; so that 
the widow and her children remained undisturbed, while from other 
parts of the settlement property was stolen and prisoners taken, and 
one or two individuals were shot in close vicinity to the fort. 

The emigrants who established themselves at Columbia, were men 



230 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of energy and enterprise, and the little settlement for two or three 
years contained more inhabitants than any other in the Miami pur- 
chase. The second party destined for the Miami, was formed at 
Limestone ; they landed the 24th of December, 1788, on the north 
bank of the Ohio, opposite the mouth of Licking river, and laid out 
a town, to which the name of Cincinnati was given the following 
year. The third party of adventurers to the purchase, under the 
immediate direction of. Judge Symmes, established a station at 
* North Bend,' the most northern bend in the Ohio below the mouth 
of the great Kanawha. The village has since become distinguished 
as the home of President Harrison, whose tomb, on one of its hills, 
can be seen from the river. 

These three principal settlements of the Miami countiy had one 
general object, and were threatened by one common danger ; yet, says 
Judge Burnet, there existed a strong spirit of rivalry among them, 
" each feeling a pride in the prosperity of the little colony to which 
he belonged. That spirit produced a strong influence on the feelings 
of the pioneers of the different villages, and an esprit du corps 
scarcely to be expected under circumstances so critical and dangerous 
as those which threatened them. For some time, it was matter of 
doubt which of the rivals, Columbia, Cincinnati, or North Bend, 
would eventually become the chief seat of business." The establish- 
ment of the garrison at Cincinnati, made it the head-quarters and 
depot of the army. Fort Washington was the most extensive and 
important military work in the territory. It was said that the 
removal of the troops from the Bend, which was strenuously opposed 
by Judge Symmes, was caused by an attachment on the part of the 
officer in command, to a beautiful woman, whose departure to 
reside in Cincinnati opened the eyes of her admirer to its advantages 
for a military post, and thus made it the commercial emporium and 
the Queen City of the West. 

I shall not hesitate to offer, in different memoirs, descriptions of 
pioneer life furnished by individuals whose recollections are entirely 
reliable. Although these may involve occasional repetition, they 
will enable us to perceive any difference of habits or manners in 



MARY DUNLEVY. 231 

different parts of the country, and to appreciate more fully the spirit 
of enterprise and power of endurance which made the way so r%uch 
easier to those who succeeded the early colonists. The densely wooded 
mountain ranges were a formidable barrier at that period between 
the old States and the new territories. The difficulties attending any 
communication can hardly be imagined by those who enjoy the facili- 
ties of travelling now, and made the work of the pioneer more arduous 
and hazardous than in more recent settlements, where the emigrant 
has the advantage of public conveyances, at least part of the way, 
and may find the necessaries of life within a distance readily 
accessible. It was no small undertaking to penetrate the un- 
broken forest, ascend or descend rivers that had never before been 
navigated, and carry to a home in the wilderness supplies for a 
household in a few chests. These usually held the clothing of the 
pioneer's family, while a few cooking utensils were added to the 
stock, and occasionally a table or bureau ; though for such articles 
of furniture, as well as chairs and bedsteads, the settlers generally 
depended on the rough manufacture of the country. Shelves hewn 
by the axe supplied the place of bureaus and wardrobes, and two 
poles fastened in a corner of the cabin, the outer corner supported 
by a prop, answered the purpose of a bedstead, until better could be 
had. The pioneer's cabin was indeed a complete example of 
domestic economy. It was built of unhewn logs, sometimes in a 
single day, by the owner and eight or ten of the neighbors, who 
never refused their assistance. The floor was made of split slabs or 
puncheons, as they were called, dubbed with an adze, or where the 
resident was over nice, smoothed with the broad-axe on the upper 
side. The doors were made of boards riven from a tree of the 
proper length and thickness, and smoothed with a drawing-knife. 
The windows, in the earliest settlements, were made by. cutting 
away the under and upper portions of two of the logs of the house, 
forming thus a square opening of suitable size, in which sometimes 
upright sticks were placed, covered with white paper, oiled with hog's 
fat or bear's oil, to admit the light in place of glass, a luxury not 
then to be procured. The fire-place was usually very large, built 



232 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

up on three sides six or eight feet with stone, and then topped with 
"<t and clay," as it was termed. The cabin completed, the next 
thing was to clear a piece of ground for a cornpatch. A shovel- 
plow was generally used, as most convenient among the roots. The 
harness consisted mostly of leatherwood bark, except the collar, 
which was made of husks of corn plaited and sewed together. 

Kough and uncouth in appearance as were these primitive cabins, 
they could be made very comfortable, and for health seemed pre- 
ferable to many more civilized dwellings. One of them, sometimes 
containing but a single room, with a rude loft reached by a ladder, 
was the happy home of a numerous household ; the children raised 
there growing up to usefulness and eminence among their fellow 
citizens. The children thus raised were generally of powerful frame, 
and possessed great physical strength ; their height and proportions, 
it is said, being known, as a rule, to surpass those born after the erec- 
tion of frame and brick dwellings. Sickness also was rare among 

o o 

them. 

It is true that these rude habitations had some inconveniences, 
which might now be considered too formidable to contend with ; 
and it may be thought strange how a female of cultivation and 
refinement could bring herself to live in one of them. Yet it is 
certain, that among the early pioneers who came to the Miami 
country, were some ladies of the highest consideration in New York 
and New Jersey ; and it is no less certain that they readily and 
cheerfully accommodated themselves to the condition of things 
around them. The dressing-room and ornamental toilette were 
lacking; but they were dispensed with for such accommodations 
as necessity suggested. Each cabin usually contained two beds in 
the lower room, and these were separated from each other by full 
and flowing curtains around one at least, answering the purpose of 
a partition and dressing apartment. 

The women of those times, it has been often observed, were 
of a sturdier nature than at the present day, and encountered both 
hardships and dangers with a philosophy and a grace which can 
now be hardlv understood. Most of them undertook the labor of 



. 

MARY DUNLEVY. 233 

the household unassisted, requiring no help except when children 
were born, till the older ones grew old enough to be useful. There 
were but few single young women in the early settlement ; if any 
came with friends from the east, they were very soon married and 
had their own household affairs to attend to. In the summer, be- 
sides the ordinary housework, the wife of the pioneer spun the wool 
which formed the winter's clothing for the male part of the family, 
as well as flannel for herself and the girls ; in the winter was spun 
the flax of which clothing was made the ensuing summer. The 
buzz of the wheel, therefore, was heard at all seasons in the cabins 
of the early settlers, and often in the winter until the approach of 
midnight. Yet, with all these laborious duties, which were regularly 
and faithfully performed, the pioneer mothers found time to arrange 
their houses with the most scrupulous order and neatness, and were 
not without their social enjoyments. The afternoons of the long 
summer's day were frequently spent in visiting or receiving visits 
from neighbors within a few miles' distance. No motive could ex- 
ist for a profession of friendship where the reality was not felt ; and 
distress in any family never failed to elicit the sympathy and com- 
mand the aid, so far as it could be rendered, of all the neighbors. 
Social intercourse was intimate, and the interchange of expressions 
of good feeling, sincere and constant ; and never could one familiar 
with these associations forget the smooth winding foot paths which 
led through the deep forest and tall grass or underbrush from the 
house of one pioneer to that of another, traversed daily on errands 
of business or friendship, so that every family was kept acquainted 
with all the occurrences of the day throughout the settlement. If a 
fat bear or deer was killed by one it was generally divided, and the 
portions sent round as a token of kindly regard. Game was abun- 
dant, and the turkeys, venison and bear's meat which so frequently 
loaded the rustic tables, might well have been prized by the most 
fastidious epicures of advanced civilization. 

On the whole the life of the pioneer, though one of hardship and 
danger, was one of stir and excitement, and a perfect freedom so 
agreeable to the enterprising rover, that it may be questioned 



234 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

whether it were not, for him at least, the happiest state of society. 
There was freshness and novelty in the scenery around him and in 
the adventurous experience of every day ; the keen invigorating air 
of the wildwood, and the constant exercise required, gave energy 
and activity to body and mind, and sustained and exhilarated the 
spirits ; no forms or ceremonious customs constrained or chilled social 
manners, and no jealousy or bitterness could arise out of difference in 
circumstances, distinctions growing out of condition being entirely 
unknown in those primitive communities. Good faith and honesty 
in business transactions were taken for granted on both sides, and 
the lack of them would have been punished by social outlawry. 
The general prevalence of good health was promoted by the constant 
exposure which hardened the pioneers to the sudden changes inci- 
dent to a severe climate, and by their simplicity of diet. The cakes 
and preserves which nowadays take up so much of the attention of 
housekeepers in preparing, and are regarded as essential articles of 
provision in genteel houses, were almost unknown. The Kentucky 
"hoecake," or the "johnny" or "journey cake," of the Miami Valley, 
formed the favorite winter bread, and was used during a great part 
of the spring season. The corn was ground, before mills were 
erected, in a hand-mill, or pounded in a hominy-block, made by 
burning a hole in one end of a block of wood, the corn being 
pounded with a pestle made by driving an iron wedge into a stick 
of suitable size. When sufficiently pounded, it was sifted, and 
the finer portion made into bread and mush, the coarser being 
boiled for hominy. The meat was bear, venison, and wild turkey, 
as it was difficult to raise hogs or sheep on account of the wolves 
and bears. 

The amusements of the men were such as developed physical 
strength and animated to cheerfulness. The chase, the principal 
one, served the purpose of an exciting and healthy exercise, while it 
furnished provision for the family. The women of course took no 
active part in this sport, except when the bear hunt roused the whole 
neighborhood, young and old, male and female, to partake in it with 
intense interest, A bear chase was usually commenced by the 



MARY DUNLEVY. 235 

sounding of a peculiar note on the horn, which reverberated wildly 
among the hills and woods. Presently the distant howl of the 
hunter's dogs gave notice that the hunters were in pursuit of the 
enemy. Every man now seized his rifle and mounted his horse to 
join the chase, while those who could not do this, ran to see what 
was done. Sometimes the pursuit would continue all day, but gene- 
rally it happened that in a few hours the bear was compelled to 
" tree," as it was called. As soon as the hunted animal had thus 
taken refuge, the hunter who chanced to be nearest the spot, sum- 
moned the others by a different note on his horn, and a few rifle 
shots usually either brought down the fugitive dead, or forced him 
to descend to escape the shower of bullets. When the bear found 
it necessary to leave his retreat, his practice generally was to roll 
himself into a ball-like shape by placing his head between his hind 
legs, and throw himself from the height. On striking the ground 
he would rebound several feet, and the instant he touched the ground 
again, his back was against the root of the tree, while, raising him- 
self on his hind legs, he stood in an attitude of defiance, ready to 
do battle with the dogs who by that time were collected and eager 
for the assault. First with one fore paw and then with the other 
the bear would despatch the dogs as they rushed upon him. But 
though he could hold his ground thus bravely, it was not usually 
long before the fatal shot in the head from the hunter's rifle would 
lay the victim low, and end the chase for the day. The meat was 
then divided among the hunters, and they returned to their homes, 
weary and hungry, and perhaps wet with the falling rain or snow. 
At their cabins warm fires and comfortable suppers awaited them, 
and the incidents of the day afforded material for pleasant conversa- 
tion during the evening. The excitement a chase of this kind always 
caused throughout the neighborhood can only be imagined by one 
who has witnessed such an occurrence. 

The wolf made havoc with the few sheep introduced, and the wild 
deer ; the bear confined himself to hogs. His practice was to spring 
suddenly upon his victim, grasp him in his fore legs with irresistible 
force, erect himself upon his hind legs like a man, and make off 



236 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST, 

in an instant with his load ; the piercing squeal of the hog being 
the first warning to the owner. A large bear, meeting with no 
obstruction, would make his way through the woods in this manner, 
with a hog of good size, faster than a man on foot could follow. 

The establishment of schools and places for stated religious meet- 
ings was coeval with the formation of every settlement, or at least 
attended to as soon as the pioneers had secured themselves from the 
savages and provided their families with the means of daily subsis- 
tence. The schoolhouses, like the primitive cabins, were roughly 
constructed, but in some of them men whose mental endowments 
and ripe scholarship have raised them to eminence in after life, re- 
ceived the first rudiments of education. It happened in some 
neighborhoods, it is true, that no schools were established ; but the 
evil effects of such neglect were discernible long afterwards, and in 
some instances the want of general intelligence is still evident in 
those portions of the country. The privilege of hearing the gospel 
preached regularly every Sabbath, could not often be enjoyed, as 
different and distant neighborhoods had to be supplied, and there 
were but few pastors ; but service was held, and sermons were read 
when no clergyman could attend, and the announcement that there 
was to be preaching would bring the settlers together from many 
miles around. The strength of their attachment to the Sabbath 
services is shown by the fact that they were not prevented, even 
when threatened with Indian incursions, from meeting in large num- 
bers, to hear the word preached whenever an opportunity presented 
itself. While the danger was imminent it was usual for all 
the men to carry fire-arms and ammunition, as the law among 
them required every one to do ; sentinels being placed on the watch 
while service was going on. It was not till after the peace which 
followed Wayne's treaty at Greenville that the necessity for carrying 
arms to religious meetings no longer existed, and in the outer settle- 
ments the custom was kept up for some years after. It was not an 
unusual sight to see a file of riflemen with their shot pouches, and 
arms at rest, stationed around the large congregations which in warm 
weather were accustomed to assemble in the woods for religious 



MAKY DUNLEVY* 237 

worship. When the necessity for this strict guard became less 
apparent, and the Indians had removed to a greater distance, these 
forest assemblages on the Sabbath were very large, different neigh- 
borhoods gathering in one place. It was not in the least uncom- 
mon for men and women to ride on horseback eight and ten miles 
to meeting, and the doing so was far from being considered a task or 
hardship. 

One of the first schools established in the Northwestern Territory 
was in the settlement where Mrs. Carpenter lived. The young man 
who took charge of it, Francis Dunlevy, had served in many Indian 
campaigns, having, at the early age of fourteen, offered himself for 
military service, and been received in place of one of his neighbors 
who had been drafted, but who had a family dependent on him for 
support, and was unwilling to go. This was in 1777, and from that 
time to his coming to Columbia, he had been on service in occasional 
excursions against the savages. lie served at the time of the disas- 
trous defeat of Crawford at the Sandusky Plains in 1782, and after 
that time had travelled over those portions of the Northwest Terri- 
tory which now constitute Ohio. Western Virginia, and the northern 
part of Kentucky. He was not only a man of great courage, spirit, 
and enterprise, but of such industry and perseverance, that in the 
midst of the labors and vicissitudes of numerous campaigns, and the 
privations to which he was subject in a forest life, he employed the 
intervals of leisure from military occupations in study, and acquired 
a classical education. 

Having made up his mind to reside for the future in the North- 
west Territory, he came to Columbia as teacher of the school in the 
latter part of the year 1792. He heard the story of Mrs. Carpenter's 
trials, and the fortitude with which she bore them ; lie sought her 
acquaintance, and finding in her a kindred spirit, in due time offered 
his hand and was accepted. They were married in January, 1793. 
Mr. Dunlevy was afterwards a highly respected member of the 
legislature of the North-west Territory, and of the convention which 
formed the constitution of Ohio. He also occupied, for fourteen 
years, the station of presiding judge in the Court of Common Pleas. 



238 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

For many years after her removal, Mrs. Dunlevy heard not a word 
from any member of her mother's family. In 1804 she received a 
letter from her brother, directed to her "in the Miami country," by 
which she was informed of her mother's death, and that her brother 
had returned to the United States, and was then living near Lake 
Champlain. In 1806 ? her sister and her husband came from Liver- 
pool to New York for the purpose of finding the scattered members 
of the family, but they learned on their arrival that the brother had 
died the same year, and that Mary was living in the " far west." A 
correspondence was held between the sisters, and a meeting appointed 
at Pittsburg, the elder sister insisting that she could not venture to 
encounter the dangers of entering an Indian country, as she con- 
sidered Western Ohio ; but before she left New York to proceed 
that far, she was seized with yellow fever and died. 

The two children of Mrs. Dunlevy by her first marriage attained 
to womanhood and were married. Besides these, she had three sons 
and three daughters, all of whom lived to maturity. The mother's 
affection for her children was one which absorbed every faculty of 
her nature. With a resolution that to the last would never givo 
way before difficulties, she was delicate and susceptible in all her 
feelings, gentle, retiring, and affectionate, and clinging with absolute 
dependence to those in whom her devoted affections were centred. 
The death of her eldest daughter, therefore, though she had been 
married, and lived at a distance for some six years, was a blow from 
which she never recovered. Her life was afterwards secluded, and 
her social intercourse entirely confined to her children. A second 
daughter in five years followed the first to the grave, and four years 
afterwards, her youngest son having been called to a distant part of 
the country, was attacked by sudden illness and died far from home. 
Under these accumulated afflictions the spirit which had never fal- 
tered in the presence of danger, nor shrunk from trial in every other 
form, sank in the prostration of grief. Mrs. Dunlevy 's health failed 
after the death of her eldest child, and slowly declined till 1828, 
when, without any particular disease, but a gradual failure of ner- 
vous energy, she departed this life, at Lebanon, Ohio, in the sixty- 



PIONEER CABIN. 239 

third year of her age. Judge Dunlevy survived her nearly twelve 
years, and was laid beside her in the burial-ground of the Baptist 
church, of which they had both long been members. 



The following sketch of life in the woods is extracted from an 
article written by John S. Williams, the Editor of the American 
Pioneer : 

" Emigrants poured in from different parts, cabins were put up 
in every direction, and women, children and goods tumbled into 
them. Every thing was bustle and confusion, and all at work that 
could work. Our cabin had been raised, covered, part of the cracks 
chinked, and part of the floor laid when we moved in, on Christmas 
day ! We had intended an inside chimney, for we thought the 
chimney ought to be in the house. We had a log put across the 
whole width of the cabin for a mantel, but when the floor was in we 
found it so low as not to answer, and removed it. We got the rest 
of the floor laid in a very few days ; the chinking of the cracks went 
on slowly, but the daubing could not proceed till weather more suit- 
able, which happened in a few days ; door-ways were sawed out 
and steps made of the logs, and the back of the chimney was raised 
up to the mantel, but the funnel of sticks and clay was delayed until 
spring. 

" In building our cabin it was set to front the north and south, my 
brother using my father's pocket compass on the occasion. We had 
no idea of living in a house that did not stand square with the earth 
itself. This argued our ignorance of the comforts and conveniences 
of a pioneer life. The position of the house, end to the hill, neces- 
sarily elevated the lower end, and the determination to have both 
a north and south door, added much to the airiness of the domicile, 
particularly after the green ash puncheons had shrunk so as to leaye 
cracks in the floor and doors from one to two inches wide. At both 
the doors we had high, unsteady, and sometimes icy steps, made 
by piling up the log? cut out of the wall. We had a window, 
if it could be called a window, when perhaps it was the largest spot 
in the top, bottom or sides of the cabin at which the wind could not 



24:0 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

enter. It was made by sawing out a log, placing sticks across ; and 
by pasting an old newspaper over the hole, and applying some hog's 
lard, we had a kind of glazing which shed a most beautiful and 
mellow lio-ht across the cabin when the sun shone on it. All other 

o 

light entered at the doors, cracks and chimney. 

" Our cabin was twenty-four by eighteen. The west end was oc- 
cupied by two beds, the centre of each side by a door, and here our 
symmetry had to stop, for opposite the window, made of clapboards 
supported on pins driven into the logs, were our shelves. Upon 
these shelves my sister displayed in order a host of pewter plates, 
basins, dishes, and spoons, scoured and bright. A ladder of five 
rounds occupied the corner near the window. By this, when we got 
a floor above, we could ascend. Our chimney occupied most of the 
east end ; pots and kettles were opposite the window under the shelves, 
a gun on hooks over the north door, four split-bottom chairs, three 
three-legged stools, and a small eight by ten looking-glass sloped 
from the wall over a large towel and combcase. These, -with a 
clumsy shovel and a pair of tongs with one shank straight, com- 
pleted our furniture, except a spinning-wheel and such things as 
were necessary to work with. It was absolutely necessary to have 
three-legged stools, as four legs of any thing could not all touch 
the floor at the same time. 

" The completion of our cabin went on slowly. The season was 
inclement, and laborers were not to be had. We got our chimney 
up breast high as soon as we could, and our cabin daubed as high 
as the joists outside. It never was daubed on the inside, for my 
sister, who was very nice, could not consent to i live right next to 
the mud. 7 My impression now is, that the window was not con- 
structed till spring, for until the sticks and clay were put on the 
chimney we could possibly have no need of a window ; the flood of 
light which always poured into the cabin from the fireplace would 
have extinguished our paper window, and rendered it as useless as 
the moon at noonday. We got a floor laid over head as soon as 
possible, perhaps in a month ; but when it was laid, the reader will 
readily conceive of its imoerviousness to wind or weather, when we 



LIFE IN THE WOODS. 241 

mention that it was laid of loose clapboards split from a red oak, 
so twisting that each board lay on two diagonally opposite comers, 
and a cat might have shaken every board on our ceiling. 

" The evenings of the first winter did not pass off as pleasantly as 
evenings afterwards. We had no corn to shell, no turnips to scrape, 
no tow to spin into rope-yarn, nor straw to plait for hats, and wo 
had come so late we could get but few walnuts to crack. We had, 
however, the Bible, George Fox's Journal, Barkley's Apology, and 
to our stock was soon after added a borrowed copy of the Pilgrim's 
Progress, which we read twice through without stopping. The first 
winter our living was truly scanty and hard ; but even this winter 
had its felicities. We had part of a barrel of flour which we had 
brought from Fredericktown. Besides this we had a part of a jar 
of hog's lard brought from old Carolina ; not the tasteless stuff which 
now goes by that name, but pure leaf lard taken from hogs raised on 
pine roots and fattened on sweet potatoes, and into which, while try- 
ing, were immersed the boughs of the fragrant bay tree, that imparted 
to the lard a rich flavor. Of that flour, shortened with this lard, 
my sister every Sunday morning made short biscuit for breakfast. 

" The winter was open, but windy. While the wind was of great 
use in driving the smoke and ashes out of our cabin, it shook terribly 
the timber standing almost over us. We were sometimes much 
and needlessly, alarmed. We were surrounded by the tall giants of 
the forest, waving their boughs and knitting their brows over us, as if 
in defiance of our disturbing their repose, and usurping their lonp. 
uncontested pre-emption rights. The beech on the left often 
snook his bushy head over us as if in absolute disapprobation of our 
settling there, threatening to crush us if we did not pack up and 
start. The walnut over the spring branch stood high and straight : 
no one could tell which way it inclined, but all concluded that if it 
had a preference it was in favor of quartering on our cabin. We got 
assistance to cut it down. 

" The monotony of the time for several of the first years was en- 
livened by the howl of wild beasts. The wolves howling around us 
seemed to moan their inability to drive us from their long and un- 



242 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

disputed domain. The bears, panthers and deer but seldom troubled 
us. When spring was fully come and our little patch of corn, three 
acres, put in among the beech roots, which at every step contended 
with the shovel-plough for the right of soil, and held it too, we en- 
larged our stock of conveniences. As soon as bark would peel off 
we could make ropes and bark boxes. These we stood in great need 
of, as such things as bureaus, stands, wardrobes, or even barrels were 
not to be had. Sometimes boxes made of slippery elm bark, shaved 
smooth, and the inside out, were ornamented with drawings of birds, 
trees, etc. 

" We settled on beech land, which took much labor to clear. 
We could do no better than clear out the smaller stuff and burn 
the brush, &c., around the beeches which, in spite of the girdling 
and burning we could do to them, would leaf out the first year, 
and often a little the second. The land, however, was very rich, 
and would bring better corn than might be expected. We had to 
tend it principally with the hoe, that is, to chop down the nettles^ 
the water-weed, and the touch-me-not. Grass, lamb's- quarter, and 
Spanish-needles were reserved to pester the better prepared farmer. 
We cleared a small turnip patch, which we got in about the 10th 
of August. We sowed timothy seed, which took well, and next 
year we had a little hay besides. The tops and blades of the corn 
were also carefully saved for our horse, cow, and the two sheep. 
The turnips were sweet and good, and in the fall we took care to 
gather walnuts and hickory nuts, which were very abundant. These, 
with the turnips which we scraped, supplied the place of fruit. I 
have always been partial to scraped turnips, and could now beat any 
three dandies at scraping them. Johnny-cake, also, when we had 
meal to make it of, helped to make up our evening's repast. The 
Sunday morning biscuit had all evaporated, but the loss was partial- 
ly supplied by the nuts and turnips. Our regular supper was 
mush and milk, and by the time we had shelled our corn, stemmed 
tobacco, and plaited straw to make hats, etc., our appetites were 
sharp again. To relieve this difficulty, my brother and I would bake 
a thin johnny-cake, part of which we would eat, and leave the rest till 



LIFE IN THE WOODS. 243 

morning. At daylight we would eat the rest as we walked from 
the house to work. 

" The* methods of eating mush and milk were various. Some 
would sit around the pot, every one taking therefrom for himself. 
Some would sit at table and have each his tin cup of milk, with a 
pewter spoon, taking just as much mush from the dish or the pot as 
he thought would fill his mouth, then lowering it into the milk and 
taking some to wash it down. This method kept the milk cool, and 
by frequent repetitions the pioneer would contract a faculty of cor- 
rectly estimating the proper amount of each. Others would mix 
mush and milk together. 

" To get grinding done was often a great difficulty, by reason of 
the scarcity of mills, the freezing in winter and the droughts in 
summer. We had often to manufacture meal in any way we could 
get the corn to pieces, We soaked and pounded it, we shaved it, 
we planed it, and, at the proper season, grated it. When one of 
our neighbors got a hand-mill, it was thought quite an acquisition 
to the neighborhood. In after years, when we could get grinding 
by waiting for our turn no more than one day and a night at a horse- 
mill, we thought ourselves happy. To save meal we often made 
pumpkin bread, in which, when meal was scarce, the pumpkin would 
so predominate as to render it next to impossible to tell our bread 
from that article, either by taste, looks, or the amount of nutriment 
it contained. Salt was five dollars per bushel, and we used none in 
our corn bread, which we soon liked as well without it. What meat 
we had at first was fresh, and but little of that, for had we been 
hunters we had no time for the chase. 

" We had no candles, and cared but little about them except for 
summer use. My business was to ramble the woods every evening 
for seasoned sticks, or the bark of the shelly hickory, for light. Tis 
true that our light was not as good as candles, but we got along 
without fretting, for we depended more upon the goodness of our 
eyes than we did upon the brilliancy of the light." 

Howe relates an anecdote of one Henry Perry, who in the fall of 
1803, after getting up his cabin near Delhi, left his two sons and 



244 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

returned to Philadelphia for the remainder of his family, but finding 
his wife ill, and afterwards being ill himself, could not get back till 
the next June. These two little boys, Levi and Reuben, only 
eleven and nine years old, remained there alone, eight months, fif- 
teen miles from any white family, and surrounded by Indians, with 
no food but the rabbits they could catch in hollow logs, the remain- 
der of one deer that the wolves killed near them, and a little corn 
meal that they occasionally obtained of Thomas Cellar, by following 
down the " Indian trace." The winter was a severe one, and their 
cabin was open, having neither daubing, fire-place, nor chimney ; 
they had no gun, and were wholly unaccustomed to forest life, be- 
ing fresh from Wales, and yet these little fellows not only struggled 
through but actually made a considerable clearing ! Jacob Fo ?t 
at an early day, when his wife was sick and could obtain nothing to 
eat that she relished, procured a bushel of wheat, and throwing it 
upon his shoulders, carried it to Zanesville to get it ground, a dis- 
tance of more than seventy-five miles by the tortuous path he had 
to traverse, and then shouldering his flour retraced his steps home, 
fording the streams and camping out nights." 

Dr. Hildreth says that for many years after the first settlement of 
Ohio, salt had to be brought across the mountains on pack-horses. 
" Those immense fountains of brine that now are known to exist 
deep in the rocky beds below, were not then dreamed of; it was 
supposed that the west would always be dependent on the Atlantic 
coast for salt, and deeply deplored as a serious drawback on the pros- 
perity of this beautiful region. Although springs of salt water were 
known in various places, they were of so poor and weak a quality as 
to require from four to six hundred gallons of the water to make a 
bushel of salt ; and when made, it contained so much foreign matter 
as to render it a very inferior article. Yet as it could be used in 
place of the imported salt, and saved the borderer's money, at that 
day not very plenty, it was occasionally resorted to by the settlers, 
who, assembling in gangs of six or eight persons, with their domestic 
kettles, pack-horses and provisions, camped out for a week at a time 
in the vicinity of the saline. These springs were generally discovered 
by hunters, and were at remote points from the settlements." 



XIV. 

ANN BAILEY. 

THE account of the first settlement of Gallipolis, Ohio, forms a curious 
piece of pioneer history. When the disturbances of the French 
Revolution had driven many families from their native country, an 
office was opened in Paris for the sale of American lands owned by 
the " Scioto Company," and situated on the west bank of the Ohio 
river, above the mouth of the Big Scioto in the Northwest Terri- 
tory. A general prospectus was issued, setting forth that the com- 
pany owned a million of acres ; the advantages to the emigrant and 
ultimate value of the land, were glowingly painted, and hundreds 
rushed to the agents to purchase estates which might be acquired 
at a very moderate price. Some five or six hundred emigrants, in- 
cluding doctors, lawyers, officers, merchants, manufacturers, me- 
chanics, farmers, gardeners, etc., with their deeds in their hands, and 
eager with hope and expectation, sailed in February, 1790, from 
Havre de Grace, five ships being chartered to convey them to Alex- 
andria, Virginia. They were received with a warm and hospitable 
welcome by the inhabitants of that town, supplied with portions of 
their stores, and taught all that was necessary to learn as to the 
manner of living in the new country.* 

# This account is abridged from one prepared by Gen. LEWIS NEWSOM, 
one of the early residents of Gallipolis. He has also favored me with notices 
of Mrs. Bailey's life. 



24:6 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

From a correspondence opened with the Secretary of the Treasury 
of the United States, the emigrants learned that the Scioto Com- 
pany had failed in their engagements to government, and that the 
lands purchased from the Treasury Board had rev.erted and been 
sold in 1787 to the agents for the directors of the Ohio Com- 
pany, pursuant to an act of Congress passed the July preceding. 
This was the first knowledge they had of their true situation, and 
the imposition practised on them. A general meeting was called, 
and a committee appointed to go to New York and demand indem- 
nification of the acting agent for the Scioto Company, while another 
committee was to appeal to President Washington for a redress of 
theil 1 grievances. The result of the application to the agent of the 
Scioto Company was the promise that other lands should be secured 
to the emigrants in fulfilment of the engagements entered into, and 
that the site of Gallipolis should be surveyed into lots, houses erected, 
with defences against the Indians, and wagons and supplies provided 
to convey the colonists to Ohio. Notwithstanding this flattering 
report of their committee, many of them had no hope that the 
promises would be fulfilled, and removed to New York, Philadel- 
phia, and elsewhere. As soon as wagons could be procured, the 
others left Alexandria and passed through Winchester to Browns- 
ville on the Monongahela, where they were detained, as boats were 
not in readiness to proceed. They had shanties to lodge in, but the 
fall rains had set in, and they suffered many privations. Their 
voyage further was not a pleasant one, the river being low, and 
shoals frequent ; but after a weary progress they reached the place 
of destination, in October, 1790, and landed with great joy. Sur- 
veyors had been sent to lay out the town, and workmen to build 
houses, and the first tree had been cut down on the 8th of June, by 
Col. Robert SafFord. Four rows of twenty cabins, each with a door, 
windows, and wooden chimney, were put up, and as a better sort of 
habitation for those of the superior class, two rows of huts of hewn 
logs, a story and a half in height. Block-houses two stories high 
were also erected, with a high stockade fence, forming a sufficient 
fortification against attack. In one of the better cabins was a room 



ANN BAILEY. 24:7 

used for a ball-room and council chamber. As soon as the quarters 
of each family were assigned, their massive chests were opened and 
relieved of the ponderous contents, which were distributed in the 
community. 

T^iey entered upon the new mode of life with cheerfulness and a 
social spirit ; they had soirees, music, and dancing regularly ; some 
had mingled in the higher circles abroad and had cultivated literary 
tastes, and there were scientific men who had spent years of study 
in the first European institutions. Few of them had ever wielded 
an axe, but they did not shrink from severe labor ; they cleared the 
forest, prepared the soil for cultivation, and soon changed the wil- 
derness to a land of more inviting aspect. A corps of hunters 
brought in regular supplies of game, and flour and grain were pro- 
cured from Western Pennsylvania. From the commencement of 
the settlement service was performed by a Catholic priest, which was 
regularly attended by the emigrants. In a short time different 
branches of business were commenced, retail stores opened, and 
manufactures offered for sale and carried to other places. 

In the spring of 1*791, a party was sent out to explore the lands 
from Gallipolis to the confluence of the Big Scioto with the Ohio. 
A keel-boat was chartered and a crew obtained, with hunters, spies, 
and scouts, making a formidable appearance with their camp 
equipage and war accoutrements, while the colonists assembled to 
bid them adieu. They reached the mouth of the Big Scioto by the 
aid of poles, pikes, &c., ascended it about a mile, and encamped near 
the site of the court-house in Portsmouth. The country was then 
explored, and the lands examined along the banks of the river ; the 
hunters bringing in abundance of deer, turkeys, and other game. 
On their return to Gallipolis, their report was joyfully received, and 
hope was entertained that the Scioto company would yet put the 
colonists in possession of the lands they had purchased, 

It was now announced that a hostile band of Indians had been 
prowling in the neighborhood ; one emigrant was killed and two 
were taken prisoners, while several horses and cattle were carried off. 
A defensive force was organized, and on application to the Secretary 



1348 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

of War, assistance was sent. Few further depredations, hew -ever, 
were committed by the Indians, though they came occasionally to 
peep at the dances of the colonists, and the settlement continued for 
so long a time to enjoy immunity from attack, that it was supposed 
that the savages entertained unusually friendly feelings towardsthe 
French. After the victories of Gen. Wayne and the establishment 
of peace, a free intercourse was maintained between the residents at 
Gallipolis and the colonists from Massachussetts living at. Marietta. 
The former soon became convinced that the agents of the Scioto 
Company could never secure them in the possession of their lands, 
and after some further endeavors to procure redress by prosecuting 
their claims, they were obliged to give up the hope of having their 
rights conceded. In a negotiation afterwards with the Ohio Com- 
pany, many of the settlers were disappointed, and feeling themselves 
deceived, left the settlement, reducing the numbers of those remain- 
ing to about three hundred. A petition to Congress for an appro- 
priation of lands for their benefit, presented by M. Gervais, resulted 
in the grant of twenty thousand acres, to be equally divided among 
the French emigrants living at Gallipolis at a certain time, under 
conditions that secured their settling there for some years. Other 
grants were afterwards made to other colonists opposite and below 
the mouth of Little Sandy River in Kentucky. Improvements in 
the lands went on : apple and peach orchards were planted, and the 
cider and brandy manufactured became a source of revenue. New 
emigrants came in, and in 1803, Gallia county was erected, Gallipolis 
being the county seat. 

So interesting and romantic is the story of this settlement by tho 
French, that no apology will be necessary for connecting the narra- 
tive with a brief notice .of a remarkable woman, remembered by all 
the old inhabitants of Gallipolis, and throughout Western Virginia, 
and known by name to almost every child in the country. She 
was sometimes called " Mad Ann," and was a terror to refractory 
urchins. Her maiden name was Hennis. She was born at Liver- 
pool, married Richard Trotter at the age of thirty, and came with 
him to the American colonies ; both, on account of poverty, being 



ANN BAILEY. 249 

" sold out " to service, according to custom, for the payment of the 
passage money, to a gentleman in Augusta county, Virginia. Having 
served him faithfully for the stipulated time, they became settlers. 

The frontier having suffered much from Indian attacks, in the 
summer of 1774, Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, collected 
forces for an expedition against the Indian towns on the Scioto. Gen. 
Lewis, who had signalized himself in the field of Braddock's defeat, 
was ordered to march with his division to the junction of the Great 
Kanawha with the Ohio. Kichard Trotter was a volunteer in his 
foi'ce. Lewis halted on the ground now occupied by the village of 
Point Pleasant, to await further communications from the corn- 
man der-in-chief; but before his men could erect defences, except a 
few fallen trees, the scouts came into camp with intelligence that an 
army of Indian warriors was in their immediate vicinity. The troops 
were put in battle array, and in a very short time, on the morning 
of the 10th of October, a general engagement took place, in which 
the Virginians suffered great loss, though the Indians retreated. 
Among those engaged in this memorable battle, we find the names 
of Shelby, Sevier, and James Robertson. 

Trotter was killed in this battle. From the period of his death, a 
strange and wild spirit seemed to possess the widow, who frequently 
expressed her hatred of the Indians, and her determination to have 
revenge. The opinion entertained by her neighbors that her intel- 
lects were somewhat disordered, was confirmed by her entire aban- 
donment of all feminine employments. She no longer sewed, spun, 
or attended to household or garden concerns, but practised with the 
rifle, slung the tomahawk, and rode about the country attending 
every muster of soldiers. She even in part discarded female attire, 
and was seen clad in a hunting-shirt and moccasins, wearing her 
knife and tomahawk, and carrying her gun. Her manly spirit and 
resolve to avenge the death of her husband did not prevent her con- 
tracting a second alliance, and it was as Ann Bailey that, several 
years afterwards, she followed a body of soldiers sent to garrison a 
fort on the Great Kanawha, where Charleston is now located. The 
men often practised shooting at a target, and Ann, ambitious to dis- 

11* 



250 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

play her skill, would contend with the best marksmen and some- 
times carry off the prize. At parade she handled fire-arms with the 
expertness of a warrior, and the rifle was her constant companion. 
Howe, in his historical work on Virginia, mentions that she 
frequently acted as a messenger, carrying letters from the fort to 
Point Pleasant, and that she generally rode on horseback, with a 
rifle over her shoulder, and a knife and tomahawk in her belt. At 
night she would encamp in the woods, letting her horse go foe, and 
then walking back some distance on the trail to escape discovery by 
the vigilant savages. 

Marauding parties of Indians were often seen in the valley of the 
Kanawha, and the Virginians doubted not their intention of making 
a desperate effort to dislodge them from this favorite hunting-ground. 
A runner was sent from Capt. Arbuckle, at Point Pleasant, to Capt. 
Clendenin, the commander of the garrison, with information that a 
hundred or more Indian warriors had been seen the day previous 
crossing the Ohio at Racoon Island, some ten miles below. It was 
supposed their design was to attack the fort at Charleston, or at Big 
Levels, in Greenbrier county. All the inhabitants around were im- 
mediately gathered into the fort. 

At this crisis the terrible fact was announced that their ammuni- 
tion was nearly exhausted. It was determined to send immediately 
to Camp Union, now Lewisburg, for a supply ; but few men could 
be spared from the fort, and none was willing to encounter, with a 
small party, the perils of a hundred miles' journey through a track- 
less forest. Mrs. Bailey heard of the difficulty, and instantly offered 
her services, saying she would go alone. Her acquaintance with the 
country, her excellent horsemanship, her perseverance, and fearless 
spirit, were well known, and the commander of the garrison at length 
yielded to her solicitation. A good horse was furnished her, with a 
stock of jerked venison and johnny-cake ; she set her face towards 
Greenbrier, armed with rifle, etc., and resolutely overcoming every 
obstacle in the ruggedness of the way through the woods, the moun- 
tains she had to cross, and the rivers to swim, undaunted by the 
perils threatening from wild beasts and straggling parties of Indians, 



ANN BAILEY. 251 

she reached Camp Union in safety, delivered her orders, and being 
provided with a led horse fully laden, as well as her own, set forward 
on her return. 

She used to relate how her trail was followed for hours together 
by wolves, watching for an opportunity to attack her horses. When 
night set in she was compelled to make large fires to keep the wild 
beasts at bay. To protect herself in slumber from the danger of 
rattlesnakes and copperheads, which infested the wilderness, she had 
to construct a pioneer bedstead every night, by driving into the 
ground four forked sticks about three feet high, adjust upon them 
other sticks to serve as bed rails and slats, and overlay them with 
a quantity of green boughs, her blanket serving as a musquito bar. 
Thus she would sleep amidst the howling of wolves, the screaming 
of panthers, and the buzzing of troublesome insects ; at break of 
day replacing the loads on her horses, and resuming her journey, 
her simple breakfast being eaten on horseback. She arrived in 
safety with her supplies at the fort. It is said that the premeditated 
attack was made the very next day, and that the Indians were 
repulsed after a severe conflict. Mrs. Bailey was actively employed 
during the siege, and tradition says, fired several times upon the as- 
sailants. She always insisted that she had killed one Indian at least, 
and thus accomplished her revenge. The commandant has been 
heard to say that the fort could not have been saved without the 
timely supply of ammunition, thus giving the credit to Mrs. Bailey's 
exploit, which indeed is scarcely paralleled even among the many 
instances of heroism that abound in the history of the Revolutionary 
war. 

After the troubles with the Indians were over, Mrs. Bailey still re- 
tained her singular habits. She spent much of her time in fishing 
and hunting, and would shoot deer and bears with the expertness of 
a backwoodsman. In person she was short and stout, and of coarse 
and masculine appearance, and she seldom wore a full woman's dress, 
having on usually a skirt with a man's coat over it, and buckskin 
leggins. The services she rendered in the war had greatly endeared 
her to the people, and her eccentricities were regarded with an in- 



if 52 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

dulgence that would not have been extended to one who had no 
such claims to gratitude. She annually visited many of the people 
of West Virginia, and received presents in clothing and other articles. 
Gen. JSTewsom recollects seeing her in his boyhood, passing from the 
Kanawha Valley to the counties near the Alleghanies, and returning 
with her horse laden with gifts from those who remembered her 
achievement. Thus " Mad Ann " and her black horse, which she 
called " Liverpool " in honor of her birthplace, were always greeted 
with a smile of welcome wherever she chose to stop. When her 
son came to Ohio, where he owned a large body of land, she came 
with him, and lived a few miles from Gallipolis. Here she was ac- 
customed to wander about the country, received by all as a privileged 
visitor, and supplied according to her need. She seldom failed, 
whenever there was a muster of the militia, to attend, armed like a 
soldier, and march in the ranks. " Not a man of them would have 
put her out," said the General, in recounting the narrative. She 
loved solitude, and spent most of her time alone, but often gathered 
the neighbors around her to relate the story of her adventures. It 
must be added that among her masculine habits she had that of 
drinking occasionally, .and that she sometimes exercised her skill in 
boxing, an accomplishment in which she was well versed. She 
could read and write, and seems to have possessed an unusual share 
of intelligence for" one of her station in life. 

A gentleman residing in Nashville, said he had seen her frequently 
near Point Pleasant, about the year 1810 or 1811. She called her 
gun and canoe " Liverpool," as well as her horse. She often took it 
upon herself to enforce the keeping of the Sabbath by taking up such 
boys as she found wandering about on that day, and compelling 
them to sit around her in a cabin, while she opened school exercises 
for their instruction, greatly to the terror of the delinquents. The 
gentleman referred to said he was chased by her some distance on 
one of these occasions, and though lamed by a bruise on his foot, 
ran as for dear life, having made his escape by jumping out of the 
window of the hut where she had imprisoned a number of boys. 

Mrs. Bailey's life was prolonged far beyond the ordinary limits ; 



ANN BAILEY. 

according to her own account, she numbered several years over a 
century. Her death took place in 1825. The place of her burial is 
on a lonely hill near her son's residence, in the solitude of the woods, 
unmarked by a headstone. Gen. Newsom suggests that her remains 
should be removed by the citizens of Virginia to the spot where the 
fort stood in Charleston! and honored by a suitable monument. 



i 



XV. 

ELIZABETH HARPER. 

ELIZABETH BARTHOLOMEW, one of the pioneer band who made the 
earliest settlement in Northeastern Ohio, was born in Bethlehem, 
Hunterdon County, New Jersey, February 13th, 1749. She was 
the sixteenth child of her parents, and had still a younger sister. 
She was descended on the maternal side from the Huguenots of 
France, and her ancestors were persons of wealth and respectable 
rank, firmly attached to the principles they professed, and willing 
to surrender all, and yield themselves unto death, rather than give 
up their religious faith. They removed to Germany after the revo- 
cation of the edict of Nantes ; and there is a family tradition that 
the grandmother of the subject of this sketch, then a child, was 
brought from Paris concealed in a chest. She married in Germany, 
and in an old age emigrated to America. 

In 1771, Elizabeth was married to Alexander Harper, one of 
several brothel's who had settled in Harpersfield, Delaware County, 
New York. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, these 
brothers immediately quitted their peaceful occupations to enter into 
the continental service, Alexander receiving a commission to act as 
captain of a company of rangers. The exposed situation of that 
portion of country, and the frequent visits of Indians and tories, 
made it necessary for the whig families to seek the protection of 



ELIZABETH HAKPEK. 255 

Fort Schoharie. Mrs. Harper repaired thither with her family, in- 
cluding the aged parents of her husband. In time of comparative 
security, she lived at the distance of about a mile from the fort. 
Here, when there was a sudden alarm, she would herself harness 
her horses to the wagon, and placing in it her children and 
the old people, would drive with all speed to the fort, remaining 
within its walls until the danger was over, and then returning 
to her occupations on the farm. As peril became more fre- 
quent or imminent, the old people were removed to a place of 
greater security, while Mrs. Harper, with her four children and a 
lad they had taken to bring up, remained at home. One night 
they were startled by the sound of the alarm-gun. The mother 
took the youngest child in her arms, another on her back, and bid- 
ding the two elder hold fast to her clothes, set off to escape to the 
fort ; the lad running closely behind her, and calling to her in great 
terror not to leave him. The fugitives reached the fort in safety, 
and for the present Mrs. Harper concluded to take up her abode 
there. She would not, however, consent to live in idleness, sup- 
ported by the labor of others, but undertook, as her special charge, 
the bread-baking for the whole garrison, which she did for six months. 
During her stay the fort sustained a siege from a party of tories and 
Indians, commanded by British officers. Messengers were despatched 
to the nearest posts for relief ; but while this was slow in arriving, 
the commanding officer, in opposition to the wishes of all his men, 
determined on a capitulation, and ordered a flag of truce to be hoisted 
for that purpose. The announcement of his intention created a dis- 
affection which soon amounted almost to rebellion. The women, 
among whom Mrs. Harper was a leading spirit, had on that day 
been busily occupied from early dawn in making cartridges, prepar- 
ing ammunition, and serving rations to the wearied soldiers. They 
heartily sympathized in the determination expressed not to surrender 
without another effort to repel the besiegers. 

One of the men declared his willingness to fire upon the 
flag which had been ordered to be hoisted, provided the women 
would conceal him. This they readily agreed to do, and* as often 

i 



256 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

as the flag was run up it was fired at, while the commander was 
unable to discover the author of this expression of contempt for his 
authority. The delay consequent on this act of insubordination and 
the displeasure of the soldiers, prevented the capitulation being car- 
ried into effect, till the arrival of reinforcements caused the enemy 
to retreat. 

In the spring of 1780, Capt. Harper availed himself of an inter- 
val in active service, to look after his property in Harpersfield. While 
there with several of his friends, they were surprised by a party of In- 
dians and tories under Brandt, and taken prisoners, an invalid bro- 
ther-in-law being killed. Harper and Brandt had been school- 
fellows in boyhood, and the chief did not fail to show a remem- 
brance of the days thus spent together. The Indian captor of Har- 
per treated him with great kindness, taking him, however, to Canada. 
Here his exchange was effected soon afterwards, but he was not 
released till peace was concluded ; being offered, meanwhile, large 
rewards by the British if he would enter into service on their side. 
Mrs. Harper remained in ignorance of his fate during the time of 
his absence, and supposing him killed, mourned for him, while she 
did not suffer grief to paralyze her efforts for the protection and 
support of her family. All her characteristic energy was devoted to 
keeping them together, and doing what she could towards improving 
their shattered fortunes. 

In the year 1797, a company was formed in Harpersfield, to pur- 
chase lands in the country then called u the far west." Besides 
Alexander and Joseph Harper, the company consisted of William 
McFarland, Aaron Wheeler, and Roswell Hotchkiss ; others joining 
afterwards. In June of that year these individuals entered into a 
contract with Oliver Phelps and Gideon Granger, members of the 
Connecticut Land Company, for six townships of land in what was 
then called New Connecticut, in the Northwestern Territory. Three 
of these townships were to lie east and three west of the Cuyahoga 
river. The Connecticut Land Company drew their lands in the 
same year, and the township now known as Harpersfield in Ashta- 



ELIZABETH HARPER. 257 

bula County, was one of those which fell to the company formed at 
the town of that name in New York. 

In September commissioners were sent out by them to explore 
the country. They were much pleased with the Jocality called Har- 
persfield, and selected it as the township most eligibly situated for * 
the commencement of a settlement. On the 7th of March, 1798, 
Alexander Harper, William McFarland, and Ezra Gregory set out 
with their families on their journey to this land of promise. As the 
winter's snow was upon the ground, they came in sleighs as far as 
Rome, where they found further progress impracticable and were 
obliged to take up their quarters until the 1st of May. They then 
made another start in boats, arid proceeded to Oswego, where they 
found a vessel which conveyed them to Queenstown. Thence they 
pursued thejr journey on the Canada side to Fort Erie, being obliged 
to take this circuitous route on account of there being no roads west 
of Genesee River, nor any inhabitants, except three families living 
at Buffalo, while a garrison was stationed at Erie, in Pennsylvania. 
At Fort Erie they found a small vessel which had been used for 
transporting military stores to the troops stationed at the West, and 
which was then ready to proceed up the lake with her usual lading 
of stores. This vessel was the only one owned on the American 
side, and the voyagers lost no time in securing passage in her for 
themselves and their families as far as the peninsula opposite Erie. 
As the boat, however, was small and already heavily laden, they 
were able to take with them but a slender stock of provisions. 
Having landed on the peninsula the party was obliged to stop for a 
week until they could procure boats in which to coast up the lake, 
at that time bordered by the primeval forest. After having spent 
nearly four months in performing a journey which now occupies but 
two or three days, they landed on the 28th of June at the mouth 
of Cunningham's Creek. 

The cattle belonging to the pioneers had been sent through the 
wilderness, meeting them -at the peninsula, whence they came up 
along the lake shore to the mouth of the stream. Here the men 
prepared sleds to transport the goods they had brought with them ; 



258 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the whole party encamping that night on the beach. The next 
morning, Col. Harper, who was the oldest of the emigrants, and was 
then about fifty-five, set out on foot, accompanied by the women, 
comprising Mrs. Harper and two of her daughters, twelve and four- 
teen years of age, Mrs. Gregory and two daughters, Mrs. McFarland 
the Colonel's sister, and a girl whom she had brought up, named 
Parthena Mingus. Their new home was about four miles distant, 
and they followed up the boundary line of the township from the 
lake, each carrying articles of provisions or table furniture. Mrs. 
Harper carried a small copper tea-kettle, which she filled with water 
on the way to the place of destination. Their course lay through a 
forest unbroken except by the surveyor's lines, and the men who 
followed them were obliged to cut their way through for the passage 
of the sleds. About three in the afternoon they came to the cor- 
ner of the township line, about half a mile north of the present 
site of Union ville, Ohio, where they were glad to halt, as they saw 
indications of a coming storm. The women busied themselves in 
striking a fire, and putting the tea-kettle over, while Col. Harper cut 
some forked poles and drove them in the ground, and then felled a 
large chestnut tree, from which he stripped the bark, and helped 
the women to stretch it across the poles so as to form a shelter, 
which they had just time to gather under when the storm burst 
upon them. It was not, however, of long continuance, and when 
the rest of the men arrived, they enlarged and enclosed the lodge, 
in which the whole company, consisting of twenty-five persons great 
and small, were obliged to take up their quarters. Their tea-table 
was then constructed in the same primitive fashion, and we may be- 
lieve that the first 'meal was partaken of with excellent appetite, 
after the wanderings and labors "of the day. 

The lodge thus prepared was the common dwelling for three 
weeks, during which time some of the trees had been cut down, and 
a space cleared for a garden. The fourth of July was celebrated in 
the new Harpersfield by the planting of beans, corn and potatoes. 
The next thing was to build log cabins for the accommodation of 
the different families, and when this was done the company separated. 



ELIZABETH HARPER. 259 

The location chosen by Col. Harper was where he first pitched 
his tent, while his brother-in-law took a piece of land about half a 
mile east of Uriionville, near the spot now occupied by the Episcopal 
Church, and Mr. Gregory put up his dwelling close to the river, 
where Clyde Furnace was afterwards built. The settlers suffered 
from the sickness peculiar to a new country when the season came. 
A hired man in Harper's service was taken ill in August, and soon 
after the Colonel himself was seized with the fever, of which he 
died on the tenth of September. They had been able to procure 
no medical aid, and a coffin was made by digging out the trunk of 
a tree and hewing a slab for the lid. This melancholy event was a 
peculiar and distressing affliction to the little band of pioneers, and 
its effect on them would have been paralysing, but that the firmness 
and energy exhibited by the widow, who now found her exertions 
necessary to sustain the rest, restored the confidence and hope which 
had nearly been extinguished by the loss of their leader. Although 
the principal sufferer by the dispensation, she would not for a mo- 
ment listen favorably to the proposition made to abandon the enter- 
prise. When an invitation came from friends in Pennsylvania for 
herself and daughters to spend the winter, both she and her eldest 
daughter, Elizabeth, declined, knowing how necessary was their 
presence to keep up the spirits of the little community, and that 
their departure would discourage many who had intended coming 
to join them in their forest home. The magnanimity of this resolu- 
tion can be appreciated only in view of the hardships they knew it 
would be their lot to share. 

In the fall, another small vessel was built for use on the American 
side of the lake, and two pioneers, one of whom was James Harper, 
were sent to Canada to procure provisions for the winter. They 
despatched four barrels of flour by this vessel, and waited some 
weeks for the other, the captain of which had agreed to bring 
provisions up the lake for them. Disappointed in this expectation, 
and hearing nothing of the vessel, they were compelled to return 
when the season was far advanced, without supplies ; finding on 
their way home the remains of the vessel, which had been wrecked 



260 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE "WEST. 

near Erie. They found also that the vessel which had on board the 
flour they had purchased had been driven into the basin, and was 
too fast locked in the ice to proceed. They were obliged therefore 
to remain till the ice became so strong that the flour could be re- 
moved in sleds. They at length arrived at home just in time 
to bring relief from absolute want to the settlers, who had lived six 
weeks without any kind of breadstuffs, substituting salt beef and 
turnips, the supply of which was just exhausted. Some grain had 
been raised at Elk Creek, in Pennsylvania, but there were no mills 
in that neighborhood, and the wheat afterwards procured there was 
brought in hand-sleds on the ice to Harpersfield. The records of 
the Historical Society state that the two sons of Mrs. Harper fre- 
quently brought bags of grain packed on their backs. It was ground 
in a hand-mill somewhat larger than a coffee-mill, which the pioneers 
had brought with them. By keeping this constantly in operation 
enough flour was obtained for daily use, mingled, of course, with the 
bran from which they had no means of separating it, but having 
a relish and sweetness which such necessity only could impart to the 
coarsest food. 

There were no deer in the country at that time, but large droves 
of elk, the flesh of which resembled coarse beef, were frequently 
seen. The flesh of the bears was much more oily, and really very 
palatable ; racoons also were abundant and easily obtained, and 
were much used by the settlers, although in after years of plenty 
they lost all relish for " coon meat." Hickory nuts were also 
abundant that year, and were found a valuable article of food when 
other provisions failed. It is worthy of notice, that in the severest 
straits to which the settlers were reduced, the utmost harmony 
- and friendly feeling prevailed among them, and whatever game or 
provisions chanced to be obtained by any one family was freely 
shared with the other two. 

Towards spring the men were again sent for a supply of wheat, 
but by that time the ice was growing tender, and the weather tended 
towards thawing, so that they were detained on the way much longer 
than they had expected, and on their arrival at home found the 



ELIZABETH IIAKPEK. 261 

families reduced to the last extremity, having been without provisions 
for two days. In this time of distress, the fortitude and energy of 
Mrs. Harper aided in supporting the rest ; she was fruitful in expe- 
dients, and for the last few days they had lived on the wild leeks 
she had gathered from the woods and boiled for them. Their trou- 
bles did not terminate with the severity of the winter. As soon as 
the lake opened, the men set out for Canada in boats to procure 
provisions, but found so much ice as they went down that they were 
unable to reach Buffalo without much detention. In the meantime 
new difficulties arose in the little settlement. The mill, on which all 
depended, was broken beyond hope of repair, and there appeared 
no way of grinding the wheat, which they could not pound so that 
bread could be made of it, and which, when prepared by boiling, 
proved unwholesome food. In thb extremity some relief was afforded 
by the arrival, at the mouth of Cunningham's Creek, of Eliphalet 
Austin, who came to make preparations for a settlement at Austin - 
burgh, and gave the pioneers what they needed for immediate use 
from his supplies of provisions, thus preventing them from suffering 
till the return of their messengers. 

Howe gives an anecdote of Mrs. John Austin, showing some of the 
troubles of the settlers. " Hearing, on one occasion, a bear among 
her hogs, she determined to defeat his purpose. First hurrying her 
little children up a ladder into her chamber, for safety, in case she 
was overcome by the animal, she seized a rifle, and rushing to the 
spot saw the bear only a few rods distant, carrying off a hog into 
the woods, while the prisoner sent forth deafening squeals, accom- 
panied by the rest of the sty in full chorus. Nothing daunted, she 
rushed forward to the scene with her rifle ready cocked, on which 
the monster let go his prize, raised himself upon his haunches and 
faced her. Dropping upon her knees to obtain a steady aim, and 
resting her rifle on the fence, within six feet of the bear, the intrepid 
female pulled the trigger. Perhaps fortunately for her, the rifle 
missed fire. Again and again she snapped her piece, but with the 
same result. The bear, after keeping his position some time, dropped 



262 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

down on all fours, and leaving the hog behind, retreated to the 
forest and resigned the field to the woman." 

About this time an accident not uncommon in this forest life oc- 
curred to Mi*s. Harper. She went out one morning to find the cows, 
which had strayed away, but not having yet learned to tell the 
north side of a tree by the difference in the bark a species of wood- 
craft with which she afterwards became familiar she lost herself, 
and wandered all day along the banks of a stream that ran through 
the depths of the forest. Her family, of course, became alarmed at 
her lengthened absence and blew the horn repeatedly ; but it was 
not until the shades of night had fallen that she heard the signal, 
when she managed to light upon the township line, and followed it 
to the clearing. In the summer following, her sons were obliged to 
watch closely the hogs they had brought from Canada, on account 
of the bears, which were very numerous and destructive to stock. 
The men being occupied in clearing and working the land, or pro- 
curing provisions, various out-door employments were cheerfully 
assumed by the women. One evening Mrs. Harper, with her eldest 
daughter, went out to look up the hogs, taking the path leading to 
Hhe nearest neighbor's house. Presently they were startled by see- 
ing a small bear's cub cross the path just in advance of them ; it 
was followed by another, and the old bear composedly brought up 
the rear, taking no notice of the females, who made their way home 
with all speed. The pigs came to their quarters directly unharmed. 
So frequent were encounters with wild beasts, that the men never 
went beyond the clearing without fire-arms. 

In July, 1799, Major Joseph Harper, the Colonel's brother, joined 
the colony with his family, while a relative of the same name, with 
some other families, made a settlement at Conneaut, " the Plymouth 
of the Western Reserve," some thirty miles down the lake. This 
year wheat, corn, etc., were raised sufficient for the consumption; 
but there was a scarcity of meat, the seventy of the preceding winter 
having killed several of their cattle, and many of the hogs being 
devoured by the bears. The settlers were under the necessity, there- 
fore, of depending on wild game, and the ease with which they secured 



ELIZABETH IIAKPER. 263 

it in traps, or by the unerring aim of their rifles, with their iron 
strength for the endurance of fatigue in ranging the forest, might 
well entitle them to be called " mighty hunters." But they were 
heavily laden with daily cares and laborious duties, which even the 
pleasures of the chase could not induce them to neglect ; the clear- 
ing of the land and the culture of grain and vegetables demanded 
incessant attention, and the grinding of the grain was a matter 
requiring the exercise of some ingenuity. Corn they soon contrived 
to pound in mortars scooped in the top of oak stumps, with a 
pounder attached to a spring-pole ; but they were obliged to send 
their wheat in boats down the lake as far as Walnut Creek, in Penn- 
sylvania, where a mill was erected this year. The families of the 
new emigrants suffered considerably in the latter part of the sum- 
mer from sickness, and Mrs. Harper went down to the settlement 
at Conneaut to offer assistance in attending to them. She remained 
some weeks occupied in her ministrations of kindness, and was not 
ready to return home till the last of November. Travelling in open 
boats and on horseback were the only modes practicable among the 
pioneers ; the season was too far advanced for the first, and accom- 
panied by her relative, James Harper, our benevolent heroine started 
on her homeward journey, the only road being along the lake shore. 
Fording the streams at their mouth, they had ridden some fifteen 
miles when they came to the mouth of Ashtabula Creek, across 
which a sand-bar had formed during the summer, but had now 
given way to the increased force of the waters flowing into the lake. 
Harper was not aware of the depth of the stream, into which he 
rode without hesitation, and presently found his horse swimming. 
He called out to warn his companion, but she was too anxious to 
reach home to heed his remonstrance, and followed him fearlessly. 
Both reached the other side with some difficulty, Mrs. Harper wet 
to the shoulders, and in this condition she rode the remainder of 
the way, arriving at home before midnight. 

During the fall there were some accessions to the colony ; Judge 
Wheeler, who had married a daughter of Col. Harper, came in Oc- 
tober with his family, and Harper's eldest son, who had been out 



264 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the year before and returned. For a year and a half after the settle- 
ment was commenced, they were not visited by Indians, though they 
frequently heard their dogs, and learned afterwards that they had 
not escaped the observation of their savage neighbors, who had 
counted them and noticed all their occupations and new arrivals. 
The winter of 1799-1800 was remarkable for the depth of snow upon 
the ground. In consequence of this, game could not be procured, 
and the Indians suffered severely. Some thirty of them, unable to 
procure anything to satisfy the cravings of hunger, came to the 
settlement to ask relief, and were treated with the most generous 
hospitality. They remained six weeks, sheltered and fed by the 
colonists, and when the snow was melted they found plenty of game 
in the forest, which they showed their gratitude by sharing with 
their white friends. 

In March, 1800, Daniel Bartholomew brought out his family 
accompanied by that of Judge Griswold, whose destination was 
Windsor. They came on the ice from Buffalo, arriving only the day 
before the breaking up of the ice left the lake clear as far as the eye 
could reach. In the winter preceding, the whole Western Reserve 
had been erected into a county, which was called Trumbull, the part 
of it comprising Ashtabula being then included in one 'township, and 
called Richfield.^ In May there were still further accessions, in con- 
sequence of which a scarcity was experienced of provisions raised the 
previous year, and designed for the use of a much smaller number. 
The settlers were again compelled to send, in June, to Canada in an 
open boat, for fresh supplies. In August, an election was held for 
the purpose of sending a delegation to a convention appointed to be 
held at Chilicothe in the ensuing winter, for the purpose of taking 
measures preparatory to the admission of Ohio as a State into the 
Union. The winter of 1800-1801, passed without any remarkable 
occurrence, the country being healthy and provisions abundant. In 
the following June other families were added to the number of inha- 
bitants, and the summer was signalized by the erection of a horse-mill, 
the first built in the country, and the only one for many miles round, 
till others were built in Austinburgh. The sufferings of the settlers 



ELIZABETH HARPEK. 205 

from scarcity of food and other privations were now over, the 
advance of improvement developing the resources of the country ; 
and the farmers were able to enlarge their cleared lands, and culti- 
vate the soil to better advantage. Their friends from the East con- 
tinued to join them, and Mrs. Harper had the satisfaction of seeing 
her elder children settled around her. In 1802, a. school was estab- 
lished in the settlement ; supposed to be the first on the Reserve. 
The scholars came from the distance of two miles and a half, and as 
the reputation of the institution extended, they were sent from 
Windsor and Burton, twenty and thirty miles distant. The same 
year regular meetings were established by the "Lovers of Good 
Order," and the year following saw numerous accessions. 

In about three years after the commencement of the settlement, 
the Indians began to visit them periodically. They were chiefly 
Ojibways, and belonged to Lake Superior in the summer, but came 
down every fall in their bark canoes, and landing at the mouth of 
the streams, carried their canoes on their heads across the portage 
to Grand River, seven miles from the lake, where they took up their 
quarters for the winter, returning west in the spring. They mani- 
fested a friendly'disposition towards the white men, and as the pio- 
neers gave them assistance in sickness and destitution, they endeav- 
ored to show their gratitude by bringing them portions of such largo 
game as they killed. Many a choice piece of bear's or elk's meat, 
carefully wrapped in a blanket, has Mrs. Harper received from her 
savage friends. One day she saw a party of drunken Indians com- 
ing towards her house when the men were absent : and she had 
just time to conceal a small keg of liquor under the floor before they 
came in, demanding whiskey. They were told they could not have 
any, but insisting that they would, they commenced a search for it, 
and finding a barrel of vinegar, asked if that would " make drunk 
come," as if so, they would take it. Finding it not the right sort of 
stuff, they insisted, before leaving the house, on treating the women 
from a calabash of muddy whiskey which they carried with them. 

During all the privations, trials and sufferings which Mrs. Harper 
was compelled to undergo, she was never known to yield to des- 
12 



!i66 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

pendency, but with untiring energy exerted herself to encourage all 
within the sphere of her influence, teaching them to bear up against 
misfortune, and make the best of the home where their lot was cast. 
Her own family knew not, until the hardships of pioneer life had 
been overcome, how much she had endured how many hours of 
anxiety and sleepless nights she had passed in the days of darkness 
and disaster. She found her reward in the affection and usefulness 
of her children, several of whom filled important stations in their 
adopted State. During the war of 1812, the country was exposed 
to all the dangers of a frontier, liable, on every reverse of the Amer- 
ican arms, to be overrun by hostile Indians. In time of danger, 
Mrs. Harper's advice was always eagerly sought, as one whose ex- 
perience qualified her to decide on the best course in any emergency. 
Her grand-daughter well remembers seeing her one day engaged at 
the house of her son-in-law in showing a company of volunteers 
how to make cartridges. 

Her life was prolonged to her eighty-fifth year, and she died on 
the llth of June, 1833, retaining unimpaired until her last illness 
the characteristic strength of her remarkable mind. 



" In May, 1799, Joel and Sarah Thorp moved with an ox-team 
from North Haven, Connecticut, to Millsford, in Ashtabula county, 
and 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 provi- 
sions, Mr. Thorp started off alone to procure some through the 
wilderness, with no gu;de 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 ex- 
tremities for the want of food. They were compelled to dig for and 
in a measure subsist on roots, which yielded but little nourishment. 
The children in vain asked food, promising to be satisfied with the 



SARAH THORP. 267 

*east 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 an unsuccessful search fbr them. Mrs. Thorp 
amptied 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 wh^ch 
ihe 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 stalled in 
pursuit of the turkey, reflecting that on her success depended tho 
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 potatoe 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 slily on her hands and 
knees from log to log, until she had gained the last obstruction be- 
tween 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 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 war of 1812 ; her second was supposed 
to have been murdered. Her last husband's name was Gardiner. 
She died in Orange, in Cuyahoga county, Nov. 1st, 1846."* 

The first surveying party of the Western Reserve landed at the 
mouth of Conneaut Creek, on the 4th of July, 1796. One of the 
company says " We celebrated the day in the usual manner, so far 
as our means enabled us, by drinking patriotic toasts of pure lake 

Historical Collections of Ohio, 



268 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

water from tin cups, and firing the usual number of salutes from 
two or three fowling-pieces."* The party numbered fifty two per- 
sons, including two women, Mrs. Gunn and Mrs. Stiles. The next 
day the laborers commenced building a house as the dwelling-place 
of the families and storehouse of their provisions. In their explora- 
tion the surveyors discovered a fine bee tree. " We encamped, cut 
down the tree, and ate to our satisfaction, each man filling his canteen ; 
and the residue was put into the bags of flour. Except for two or 
three days, while our honey lasted, we lived on bread alone. On 
our arrival at the lake we took the beach, and went east to our 
camp at Conneaut ; and what was remarkable, on our way we fell 
in with all three of the parties, who had each finished their lines and 
joined ours. During our absence the house had been completed, 
and Gen. Cleveland f had assembled there a small tribe of Indians 
residing a few miles up Conneaut Creek, had held a council with 
them, made them some presents, and established a friendly inter- 
course. The General had furnished himself with an Indian dress, 
and being of swarthy complexion, afforded an excellent likeness of 
an Indian chief, and was thereafter known in the party by the name 
of Pagua, the name of the chief of the tribe referred to." 

The first permanent settlement was not commenced till two years 
afterwards. One of the early settlers, on his return from Erie, with 
corn, along the ice on the lake shore, fell into an " ice hole" some 
distance from the land, and after spending some time in vain efforts 
to extricate his horse, took the meal, saddle and bridle upon his 
shoulders, and made for the shore, with his clothes frozen stiff upon 
him. On the beach he kindled a fire, and after partiallv drying 
himself, proceeded on his journey. Some time after nightfall he 
came to a stream on the west bank of which stood an empty cabin ; 
to reach this and spend the niffht was his desire, but with the 

1 O ' 

stream he was unacquainted. He built a large fire, and by the 
light of it ventured to ford it with his load ; fortunately the water 

* MSS. in possession of John Barr, Esq., of Cleveland, 
f Moses Cleveland, the Director of survey commenced by the Connecticut 
Land Company. 



FAMILY AT CONNEAUT. 

was only about five feet deep, and after much danger and difficulty, 
he succeeded in reaching the cabin, where, by building a fire, and 
running about to keep himself awake, he spent the night. The 
next day at night he reached home, almost exhausted by his load 
and want of food. 

In the year 1798, small settlements, few and far between, 
sprinkled the Reserve, and a small illbuilt schooner constituted the 
American fleet on Lake Erie. Subsequently the Indian title to that 
part of the Reserve lying west of the Cuyahoga, was extinguished, 
and the lands were brought into market. An apology for a grist- 
mill had been erected near Cleveland, which had no competitor with- 
in a hundred miles, and gave general satisfaction, as few had any 
thing to grind. Five or six log cabins had been built in what was 
called " the city of Cleveland." Capt. Edward Paine made the first 
sleigh-track through the wilderness from Cataraugus to Erie, accom- 
panied by his wife, her sister, and a female cousin, and encamped 
two nights in the snow. In the fall, business obliged James Kings- 
bury, the father of one of the families at Conneaut the first, it is 
said, that wintered on the Reserve to goto Connecticut ; and it was 
the middle of November before he arrived at Buffalo on his return. 
The snow had fallen to the depth of two and a half feet, and 
the weather was extremely cold. 

" From this point Mr. Kingsbury must leave the habitation of the 
white man, and make his way through a wilderness, one hundred and 
thirty miles, with no road to guide him except for a part of that 
distance the beach of the lake. He was sensible of the condition 
in which he had left his family ; that they had but a scanty supply 
of provisions, and that his absence had already been longer than 
was expected. These circumstances, with the setting in of a winter 
so severe, filled his mind with the painful apprehension that 
his family might be suffering starvation. Having provided himself 
with such necessaries as he could procure, with which he loaded his 
horse, he set forth on foot, and leading his horse, pursued the 
beach of the lake. After a fatiguing march through the snow, he 
reached the Indian settlement on the Cataraugus. As from this 



270 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

place, on account of the bold projecting bluffs, he could no longet 
follow the beach, he procured an Indian, by the name of Seneca 
Billy, to guide him through the trackless forest, and took his 
course through the woods, leading his horse as before mentioned. 
In this manner he toiled through the deep snow, camping each 
night in the midst of it, for several days, when he reached Presqu' 
Isle. With much difficulty he was able at this place to procure a 
bag of corn, for which he paid three dollars a bushel. Here he 
dismissed his Indian guide, and again took to the lake, travelling 
upon the ice. He had proceeded in this manner as far as the fire 
spring, near the mouth of Elk Creek, when his horse broke through 
the ice, and though he extricated him, he was so badly injured that 
he was obliged to leave him ; and taking the bag of corn upon his 
own back, he reached his home, but not such a home as could 
afford him consolation after his excessive toil and suffering. He 
found a family perishing for want of food. His wife had given 
birth to a child, not only without any of those comforts which in 
such cases are usually deemed indispensable, but destitute of 
even the coarsest food, herself and family being in nearly a famish- 
ing state. The father soon after his arrival was doomed to see the 
child expire of starvation. 

" The infant was, I believe, the first white child born on the 
Reserve. Some three or four months afterwards, Mrs. Stiles, of 
Cleveland, presented her husband with one more fortunate, not only 
as to life, but the means of sustaining it ; to wit a donation of land 
by the Company at least so said rumor. 

" As the supply which Kingsbury had brought would last but a 
short time, it became necessary that he should procure more. The 
Connecticut Land Company had stored the provisions for the use of 
their surveyors at Cleveland, and Kingsbury knew that of this some 
barrels of salt beef still remained. Having lost his horse, as before 
mentioned, and being destitute of any other, it was fortunate that 
the severity of the season, which had contributed to the suffering of 
his family by making the ice excellent, facilitated at this time the 
means of supplying their wants. Taking advantage of this, he went 



MRS. WALWORTII. 271 

to Cleveland, (seventy miles) and procuring one of the barrels of 
beef, drew it home upon the ice on a hand-sled, in which he was 
assisted by a man then at Cleveland. When they arrived they 
found the first shanty erected by the Company, occupied by Capt. 
Hodge and family." 

The wife of Hon. John Wai worth, one of the earliest settlers of 
Lake County, shared with him all the toils and privations attendant 
upon a settlement in the wilderness. An old pioneer writes of her, 
" In our pioneer days she went hand in hand with her husband 
in all that was kind, hospitable, and generous ; and to her winning 
and attractive manner, and her sprightliness and vivacity, we must 
in part attribute the resort to their house of the polished and respect- . 
able part of the comm unity. Twice has that lady travelled from this 
country to the furthest part of Connecticut and back, on horseback : 
I mention this to show her resolution and perseverance." Early in 
1800. Mr. Wai worth brought his family in a sleigh to Buffalo, where 
they waited two weeks for a sleigh to come from Presqu' Isle, then 
proceeded on the ice till they came opposite Cataraugus Creek. 
Leaving the sleighs and horses some fifty or sixty roods out, the 
party went to the shore and encamped under some hemlock trees, 
and partook of a repast seasoned with hilarity and good feeling. The 
next afternoon all arrived in safety at Presqu' Isle, whence Mr. Wai- 
worth went back to Buffalo for his goods. Mr. Wai worth's nearest 
neighbors east of his new purchase, were at Harpersfield, fifteen miles 
distant. His family reached their new home April 7th, 1800, and lived 
in a tent for two weeks, during which time the sun was not seen.* 

On the 4th July, 1801, the first ball was given in Cleveland, at 
Major Carter's log cabin under the hill. The company consisted of 
a dozen ladies and from fifteen to twenty gentlemen. The dancers 
kept time to Major Jones' violin, on the puncheon floor, and occa- 
sionally refreshed themselves with a glass of sling, made of maple 
sugar and whiskey ; and never was the anniversary celebrated by 
" a more joyful and harmonious company, than those who danced 

* MS. of J. Barr, Esq. 



272 PIONEER WOMEN Of THE WEST. 

the scamperdown, double-shuffle, western swing, and half-moon" 
in that unostentatious place of assemblage. 

The first school opened in the town was taught, in 1802, by Miss 
Anna Spafford, also in a room of Major Carter's cabin. This 
" thorough pioneer " appeal's to have been foremost in every advance 
of improvement. An incident in which his wife was concerned, 
showing something of the spirit of the times, I take from the MSS. 
referred to: " In the summer of 1803, Mrs. Carter observed John 
Orric and another Indian lad in her garden, breaking some small 
fruit trees. Upon her reproving them, young Orric knocked her 
down with his war-club and seriously injured her. The lads fled 
immediately to the west side of the river to their fathers' lodges. 
Several days afterwards, Major Carter, who was on the watch, 
observed these lads, with others, amusing themselves with playing 
ball and swimming on the beach of the lake. He went there and 
took the lads prisoner, secured them with ropes, and took them to 
the Indian camp on the side hill, telling them he was going to hang 
them. Not finding Orric's father at the lodge, he released the other 
lad, and directed him to go and tell him he had John a prisoner 
and was going to hang him for striking his wife. The lad did the 
errand faithfully, for the Major soon heard the Indian whoop of 
alarm, followed speedily by the war-whoop from the different lodges 
on the west side of the river. John's father soon arrived, much 
excited, and with all the savageness of his nature depicted in his 
face, with his tomahawk uplifted ready for deadly revenge. He con- 
fronted the Major, giving him one of those fierce, gleaming stares, so 
significant in the Indian brave ; but the eyes of the Major met his 
and did not quail. The injured husband an4 the enraged father 
stood and gazed long in silence, each glancing defiance at the other ; 
at length the eye of the savage turned from the calm, fearless look 
of the white hunter, and he enquired the cause of his son's capture. 
Carter told him of John's assault upon his wife, and his determination 
to have him punished. By this time, traders and other Indians had 
arrived and proposed to arrange the matter. John's father sent him 
with twenty dollars to give to Mrs. Carter, and ask her forgiveness 



MRS. CARTER. 273 

for the injury he had done ; the Major agreeing to nothing unless 
Mrs. Carter was satisfied. Mrs. Carter indignantly refused the 
proffered money, and ordered John out of the house ; he returned 
crestfallen to the council and reported the failure of his mission. By 
this time Carter became much enraged, and notwithstanding he was 
iii the midst of over forty Indians, most of them well armed, it was 
with great difficulty he could be prevailed upon not to kill John 
upon the spot. After a long parley, however, he agreed that the 
affair might rest for the present ; but on this condition, that if John 
was ever caught on the east side of the Cuyahoga River he should 
certainly hang him." 



XVI. 

ELIZABETH TAPPED, 

ELIZABETH HARPER was the second daughte' of Alexander and 
Elizabeth Harper, and was born February 24th, 1784, in Harpers- 
field, New York. She was in the fifteenth year of her age when 
she accompanied her parents to Ohio, in 1798, and was the oldest 
daughter who went with them, her elder sister having been married 
some years and remaining in their old home. 

The labors and penis of commencing a settlement in an almost 
unbroken wilderness, encountered by all who took part in this ad- 
venturous enterprise, were shared without a murmur by the young 
girl, to whom fell, of course, no small part of the work of the house- 
hold and the care of the younger children. The novelty of their 
mode of living, and the wild forest scenery, with incessant occupa- 
tion, caused the time to pass speedily and pleasantly through the 
first summer ; but with the approach of a more rigorous season, their 
hardships commenced, and the death of her beloved father brought 
before the bereaved family the realities of their situation, far from 
early friends, and isolated from the comforts of civilization. Eliza- 
beth suffered much at this time of gloom and distrust, with a long- 
ing for home, and fears for the future ; but the fortitude and resolu- 
tion with which Mrs. Harper sustained herself under the pressure of 



ELIZABETH TAPPEN. 275 

calamity, had a due influence on the minds of her children, and the 
feeling of discontent was soon subdued. 

During the absence of James, who went to Canada, as mentioned 
in the preceding sketch, to procure provisions, another son, William, 
broke his leg. The other boys were seven and nine years old, and 
as they could do nothing of consequence, the work of providing 
firewood for use in the house devolved entirely, for some four weeks, 
upon Elizabeth and her younger sister, Mary. It was no easy task 
to cut, split, and bring home all the fuel consumed, as the cabin was 
very open and large fires were required. 

The prospects for the approaching winter were very dark, owing to 
the scarcity of provision and the want of comfortable quarters; 
and Mrs. Harper thought it best to send her younger daughter 
to stay with some friends at a settlement in Pennsylvania. She 
determined not to accept the invitation for herself, and Elizabeth 
decided to stay with her mother. The winter proved one of un- 
usual severity, and the settlers suffered greatly from the want of 
provisions after the wreck of the only vessel on the southern shore 
of Lake Erie, their supplies having to be brought from Canada. 
Twice the little community was reduced almost to the point of star- 
vation, having to relieve the cravings of hunger with strange substi- 
tutes for wholesome food. On the last occasion, when the men sent 
for supplies returned, they brought with them a small quantity of 
coarse Indian meal boiled, which was called samp. Mrs. Harper 
warmed a portion of this, and making some tea, called her family 
to partake of the simple meal, then a luxury privation had taught 
them to appreciate. Most of the children felt sick from absolute 
want, and disinclined to touch the food, but after tasting it, they 
were so eager for more that it required all the mother's firmness to 
restrain them from taking more than they could bear in so "weakened 
a state. 

It has been mentioned that a quantity of wheat raised in Penn- 
sylvania, was brought on hand-sleds a distance of fifty miles on the 
ice to the settlement, and ground in a small mill belonging to one 
of the families. It was Elizabeth's work to grind that required for 



276 PIOSTEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

her -family. She would take a peck of wheat and walk two miles 
and a half to grind it, then carry home the meal and make it into 
oread. The mill would grind no more than a bushel of grain in 
a day when constantly in use, and three families were to be sup- 
plied. The men being occupied in bringing the wheat and attend- 
ing to other necessary duties, the grinding was chiefly done by the 
women. 

Many of the cattle belonging to the settlers died this winter, and 
some of the oxen disappeared, supposed to have been killed and 
carried off by the Indians. The disaster that caused so much in- 
convenience the following season the breaking of the little mill 
which had been so useful, set them upon the invention of a sub- 
rtitute. A hole was burned and scraped in the top of an oak stump, 
jarge enough to hold a quantity of corn which was then pounded as 
fine as possible with a pounder attached to a spring pole resembling 
a well-sweep, the heavy end being fastened to the ground. This 
contrivance was called a mortar. Their ovens were equally primi- 
tive. As neither brick nor stone was to be had, a stump was hewn 
perfectly flat on the top, and a slab hewn out and laid upon it. On 
this the women spread a layer of clay, and placed upon it wood 
heaped up in the form of an oven, covering the whole except a small 
opening at one end, with a thick layer of clay. It stood a short 
time to dry, and then the wood was set on fire and burned out. 
The oven thus manufactured proved an excellent' one for use, and 
served as a model for all the ovens in the country for some years 
afterwards. 

In the autumn of the second year of the settlement, Mrs. 
Wheeler, Mrs. Harper's eldest daughter, came with her husband 
and family, and they took up their residence in a cabin they built 
half a mile from that of the widow. They were joined by several 
other families soon afterwards. 

Some anecdotes of their encounters with the wild beasts of the 

/orest are remembered in family tradition. One summer evening in 

>.hird year, when William Harper was returning about dusk 

*?G Wheeler's, his attention was arrested by the sight of a 



ELIZABETH TAPPEN. 277 

bear just in the path before him, engaged in devouring a hog he had 
just killed. William fired at the animal without apparent effect, 
and was hastily reloading his gun, when the bear desisted from his 
meal, and started in pursuit of the new enemy. Fortunately, a large 
tree was near at hand, which the young man ran round, the bear 
closely following and tearing off pieces of the bark in his fury. 
William contrived, while dodging him, to load his gun, and fired 
eleven times before the enraged animal fell to the ground ; then, com- 
pletely exhausted by the efforts he had made to keep the foe at bay, 
he hastened homeward, and met his brother, who alarmed by hearing 
reports in such rapid succession, had come to look for him. On 
going to the spot the next evening, they found the bear quite dead, 
with ten of the eleven balls in his body, the tree being entirely strip- 
ped of bark as high as he could reach. 

It was not long after this that Elizabeth, while staying with her 
sister in the absence of her husband, was alarmed by an attack from 
one of these ferocious animals. A crazy woman belonging to the set- 
tlement had come to stay the night in the house. Late in the even- 
ing they heard a noise among some fowls roosting upon the project- 
ing logs of the cabin, and going to the door they distinctly saw a 
large bear standing on his hind legs, trying to reach the fowls, that 
crowded together in their terror above the range of his paws. It 
required all Elizabeth's presence of mind and energy to prevent the 
lunatic from rushing out ; but by alarming her fears she persuaded 
her to be quiet, and fastened the doors. A more severe encounter 
took place some years afterwards, in the house of her brother. A 
hungry bear broke into the yard and attempted to catch a goose 
wandering on the premises. Mrs. Harper, the sister-in-law, hastily 
called to her children to come in, and barred the door ; but the 
fierce creature had heard the sound of her voice, and bent on secur- 
ing his prey, sprang through the open window and attacked her. 
Her clothes were much torn, and her arm badly scratched ; but her 
husband and a man who chanced to be with him coming to the 
rescue, they beat off the bear with clubs, and killed him. The 



i 



278 riONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

fright of Mrs. Harper had such an effect upon her that she suffered 
in health for many years. 

When the school was established in 1802, the earliest on the 
Reserve, Elizabeth Harper was employed to teach it. The follow- 
ing winter Abraham Tappen was appointed to take charge of it, 
and some of the scholars came from distant settlements. The 
school was taught alternately by Tappen and Miss Harper during 
the winter and summer, for some years. Religious meetings were 
established about the same time. 

In 1806, Elizabeth was married to Abraham Tappen, then 
engaged as a surveyor, and employed in equalizing the claims of 
land-holders. His duties compelled him to be absent from home 
during a great part of the time, and after they were settled, the 
labor of superintending the clearing of a new farm devolved upon 
the wife. The work was done, however, with an energy and cheer- 
ful spirit worthy the daughter of such a mother ; and a substantial 
foundation was thus laid for future comfort and prosperity. For a 
few years the youthful couple lived in a small log hut containing 
but one room, in which it was necessary very frequently to enter- 
tain company, as Tappen's acquaintance and business associations 
with land owners and land agents brought strangers continually to 
his house, and the duties of hospitality were esteemed sacred in the 
most primitive settlements. Mrs. Tappen was often obliged to 
spread the floor with beds for the accommodation of her guests; 
and the abundance of her table, and the excellent quality of her 
cooking, could be attested by many who from time to time were the 
chance inmates of her cheerful home. At that early period an unaf- 
fected kindness of feeling, poorly replaced in a more advanced state 
of society by the conventionalities of good breeding, prevailed among 
the settlers, and some families were sincerely attached to each other. 
Good offices were interchanged between neighbors every day, and a 
friendly intercourse maintained by frequent, visits. These were often 
paid from one to another, even when a journey of fifteen miles on 
horseback, occupying a whole day, had to be performed. The 
alarms and accidents to which a new settlement is liable, tended 



ELIZABETH TAPPEN. 279 

also to bind the emigrants together for mutual assistance and pro- 
tection. One of a number of similar incidents which occurred in 
1811, caused much trouble to the Harper family. A son of Mrs. 
Wheeler, nine years of age, had gone out alone to gather chestnuts. 
The afternoon was sultry, and he was thinly clad, but it was not 
long before a terrible storm of wind and rain came on, prostrating 
acres of the forest, and swelling the streams in a little while to 
torrents. Just before dark, Mrs. Tappen received a hasty summons 
to go to her sister, whom she found half frantic with fears for the 
missing boy. The alarm quickly spread, the neighbors assembled, 
and people came from a distance of fifteen and twenty miles to aid 
in the search, which was continued through the next day and the 
following one, without success, till near the close of the third day, 
when the child was found in so exhausted a state that in attempting 
to rise he fell upon his face. His limbs were torn and filled with 
porcupine's quills. 

Not very long afterwards, another boy belonging to the settle- 
ment was lost in the woods, and the members of his family, in the 
search for him, called his name aloud repeatedly. It may not be 
generally known that the panther, which at this time came frequently 
near the dwellings of man, emits a cry resembling a human voice 
in distress. The calling of the boy's name was several times 
answered, as his friends supposed, and after following the sound and 
hallooing some time, they discovered that the voice was not human. 
In a state of torturing anxiety and apprehension, they were obliged 
to wait for day-light, when the boy made his appearance. He had 
wandered in an opposite direction from the panther's locality, and 
had found shelter at a house, where he remained all night. 

The experience of Mrs. Tappen during her residence in the back- 
woods was full of such incidents. But the forest around them 
gradually receded before the axe of the enterprising emigrant, the 
country became cleared and cultivated, and with the progress of 
improvement the condition of the early settlers became more safe 
and comfortable. Judge Tappen and Mrs. Tappen still reside on 
the same farm which they first reduced to cultivation, about half a 



280 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

mile from the spot where her father fixed his dwelling on his first 
removal to the country. The little village of Unionville, in Lake 
County, Ohio, has been built partly on Judge Tappen's farm, and 
partly on the land formerly owned by his wife, the county line run- 
ning through it. 



XVII. 

EEBECCA HEALD. 

IT was the lot of this matron to have the story of her life associated 
with one of the most remarkable and melancholy events recorded 
in the annals of border warfare. She was the wife of Capt. Heald, 
commandant at Fort Dearborn, Chicago, and bore a part in the 
scenes of the massacre that took place there on the 15th August, 
1812. A brief notice of her will be an appropriate introduction to 
an account of that memorable occurrence. 

Rebecca Wells was the daughter of Col. Wells of Kentucky. 
Her uncle, with whom she resided in early life, was Capt. William 
Wells. The story of this brave man, who forms so conspicuous a 
figure in our frontier annals, was a singular romance. When a child 
he was captured by the Miami Indians, and became the adopted 
son -of Little Turtle, the most eminent forest warrior and statesman 
between Pontiac and Tecumseh, and the leader of the confederated 
tribes. When old enough, the captive was compelled to do service, 
and took a distinguished part in the defeats of Harmar and St. 
Clair. It is said that his sagacity foresaw that the white men would 
be roused by these reverses to put forth their superior power in such 
a manner as to command success ; and also that a desire to return 
to his own people influenced him to abandon the savages. " His 
mode of announcing this determination was in accordance with the 



282 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

simple and sententious habits of forest life. He was traversing the 
woods one morning with his adopted father, the Little Turtle, when 
pointing to the heavens, he said, ' When the sun reaches the meri- 
dian, I leave you for the whites ; and whenever you meet me in 
battle, you must kill me, as I shall endeavor to kill you. 1 The bonds 
of affection and respect which had bound these two singular and 
highly gifted men together were not severed or weakened by this 
abrupt declaration." Wells soon after joined the army of Gen. 
Wayne, who had taken command of the troops after the resignation 
of St. Glair, and by his knowledge of the forest, and of the Indian 
haunts, habits, and modes of warfare, became an invaluable auxiliary 
to the Americans. He commanded a very effective division of 
spies, of whom were the best woodsmen on the frontier, served 
faithfully and fought bravely through the campaign, and after 
Wayne's treaty at Greenville in 1795 had restored peace between 
the Indians and the whites, rejoined his foster father, Little Turtle, 
their friendship remaining uninterrupted till the death of the chief. 

Gen. Hunt mentions an incident which may show the sanguinary 
spirit of the border warfare. Capt. Wells made an excursion with 
Lieut. McClenan and eleven men into the enemy's country, following 
a trail of Indians for two days. They came in sight of them just as 
they were about encamping for the night, and waited till it was 
dark to make their attack. Wells, having then assumed the dress 
of an Indian warrior, advanced with his men, who, on the first 
alarm given by the savages, threw themselves on the ground, while 
the Captain continued to approach. Supposing him a friend, the 
Indians met and took him into their camp, he taking the precaution 
to seat himself on the extreme right of the war-party, and within 
view of McClenan. He then announced himself as from the British 
fort Miami, and commenced giving the party, consisting of twenty- 
two Indians and a squaw, the news from their British allies. The 
squaw meanwhile placed over the fire a kettle full of hominy, and 
as it began to boil, stirred it with a ladle, when the party of white 
men, mistaking her motions for the concerted signal of attack, fired 
upon the savages. The poor squaw received a shot, and fell across 






REBECCA HEALD. 283 

the fire ; the Captain saw that his life depended on prompt action, 
and grasping his tomahawk, commenced the work of slaughter, 
while his men rushed into the midst. All the Indians were killed 
except three, who made their escape. Both the Captain and Lieu- 
tenant were wounded. 

In consideration of his services, Capt. Wells was appointed Indian 
agent at Fort Wayne. At this post he continued until the war of 
1812, soon after the outbreak of which he departed for the purpose 
of escorting the troops from Chicago to Fort Wayne. 

The gentleman* to whom I am indebted for much of the infor- 
mation contained in this sketch, visited Capt. Wells at Fort Wayne 
in 1809, and there formed an acquaintance with his niece. One 
of his juvenile amusements was setting up a target for her to shoot 
at with a rifle. She and Capt. Heald were accustomed to go out 
with their rifles to shoot at the bunghole of a barrel at a distance of 
one hundred yards, and from continual practice Miss Wells had be- 
come extremely expert in that soldierlike exercise. The Captain 
was at that time evidently a candidate for the favor of the fair 
marks woman, and took great pleasure in instructing her in every 
species of military accomplishment which she took a fancy to learn. 
Shortly after this period they were married; and in 1812 Capt. 
Heald was in command of the garrison at Chicago. This, it will 
be remembered, was at that time a remote outpost of the American 
frontier, scarcely to be called a settlement, as the only inhabitants 
without the garrison were a few Canadians and the family of a gen- 
tleman engaged in the fur trade, who had removed from St. Joseph's 
in 1804. He was a great favorite among the Indians, who called 
him by a name signifying " the Silverman," from the circumstance 
of his furnishing them with rings, brooches, and other ornaments of 
that metal. His influence with the tribes wherever his trading-posts 
were dispersed, made him an object of suspicion to the British, and 
being at length taken prisoner, he was detained in captivity till the 
close of the war. 

The peninsula of Michigan was then a wilderness, peopled only 

* Gen. John E. Hunt, of Maumee City, Ohio. 



28-1 'PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

by savages ; and intercourse between the posts of Fort Wayne, 
Detroit, and Chicago, was carried on by such hardy travellers as ven- 
tured occasionally to encounter the perils and fatigues of the journey, 
guided by a devious Indian trail, encamping at night beside a stream, 
or seeking shelter in some hospitable wigwam, or even lodging 
among the branches of the trees.* The fort at Chicago was con- 
structed with two blockhouses on the southern side, and a sallyport 
or subterranean passage from the parade-ground to the river, de- 
signed either to facilitate an escape, or as a means of supplying the 
garrison with water during a siege. The chief officers at this time, 
besides Capt. Heald, were very young men ; the command num- 
bered about seventy-five men, not all of whom were able to do 
service. The garrison had maintained a constant and friendly inter- 
course with the neighboring Indians, and as the principal chiefs of all 
the bands in the vicinity seemed to be on the most amicable tennis 
with the Americans, no interruption of their harmony was anticipated. 

After the fatal event, however, many circumstances were recol- 
lected, which should have opened their eyes. One in-stance may be 
mentioned. In the spring previous, two Indians of the Calumet 
band came to the post, on a visit to the commanding officer. As they 
passed through the quarters, they saw Mrs. Heald and another lady 
playing at battledore, and one of the savages said to the interpreter, 
"The white chiefs' wives are amusing themselves; it will not be 
long before they are hoeing in our cornfields." This speech, then 
regarded as merely an idle threat, or an expression of jealous feeling 
at the contrast with the situation of their own women, was remem- 
bered mournfully some months afterwards. 

The first alarm was given on the evening of the Vth of April, 
1812. Near the junction of Chicago river with Lake Michigan, 
directly opposite the fort, from which it was separated by the river 
and a few rods of sloping green turf, stood the dwelling-house and 
trading establishment of Mr. Kinzie. This gentleman was at home, 

* I have availed myself throughout this sketch, of a narrative of the mas- 
sacre printed at Chicago in 1844 ; said to be written by an accomplished lady 
residing in that city. 



REBECCA HEALD. 285 

playing the violin for the amusement of his children ; they were 
dancing merrily, awaiting the return of their mother, who had gone 
a short distance up the river to visit a sick neighbor. Suddenly the 
door was thrown open, and Mrs. Kinzie rushed in, pale with affright, 
and hardly able to articulate " The Indians ! The Indians! They 
are up at Lee's place, killing and scalping !" This was a farm inter- 
sected by the river, about four miles from its mouth. Mrs. Kinzie, 
when she had breath enough to speak, informed her startled family 
that while she had been " at Burns', a man and boy were seen run- 
ning down on the opposite side of the river ; and that they had 
called across to Burns' family to save themselves, for the Indians 
were at Lee's place, from which they had just made their escape." 
The fugitives were on their way to the fort. 

All was now consternation. The family were hurried into two 
old pirogues moored near the house, and paddled across the river 
to take refuge in the fort, where the man a discharged soldier 
and boy had already told their story. In the afternoon, a party of 
ten or twelve Indians, dressed and painted, had arrived at the house, 
and according to the custom among savages, entered and seated them- 
selves without ceremony. Something in their appearance and manner 
had excited the suspicions of one of the family a Frenchman who 
observed, " I do not like the looks of these Indians ; they are none of 
our folks. I know by their dress and paint that they are notPotto- 
wattamies." Upon this the soldier bade the boy follow him, and 
walked leisurely towards the two canoes tied near the bank. Some 
of the Indians asked where he was going ; on which he pointed to 
the cattle standing among the haystacks on the opposite bank and 
made signs that they must go and fodder them ; and that they 
would return and get their supper. He got into one canoe and the 
boy into the other. When they had gained the other side of the 
narrow stream, they pulled some hay for the cattle, making a show 
of collecting them, and when they had gradually made a circuit, so 
that, their movements were concealed by the haystacks, they took to 
the woods near, and made for the fort. They had run about a 
^quarter of a mile, when they heard the discharge of two guns, and 



286 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

when they came opposite Burns' they called to warn the family of 
their danger and hastened on. 

A party of five or six soldiers, commanded by Ronan, was sent 
from the fort to the rescue of Burns' family : they went up the river 
in a scow, took the mother with her infant scarcely a day old, on 
her bed to the boat, and conveyed her with, the rest to the fort. 

The same afternoon a corporal and six soldiers had gone up the 
river to fish. Fearing that they might encounter the savages, the 
commanding officer at the fort now ordered a cannon to be fired to 
warn them of danger. Hearing the signal, they put out their torches 
and dropped down the river in silence. It will be borne in mind 
that the unsettled state of the country since the battle of Tippecanoe 
the preceding November, caused every man to be on the alert, and 
the slightest alarm was sufficient to ensure vigilance. When the 
fishing party reached " Lee's place," it was proposed to stop and bid 
the inmates be on their guard, as the signal from the fort indicated 
danger. All was still around the house, but they groped their way, 
and as the corporal leaped the fence into the small enclosure, he 
placed his hand upon the dead body of a man, who he soon ascer- 
tained had been scalped. The faithful dog stood guarding the life- 
less remains of his master. The soldiers retreated to their canoes, 
and reached the fort about eleven o'clock. The next morning a 
party of citizens and soldiers went to Lee's and found two dead 
bodies, which were buried near the fort. It was subsequently ascer- 
tained, from traders in the Indian country, that the perpetrators of 
this bloody deed were a party of Winnebagoes, who had come into 
the neighborhood determined to kill every white man without the 
walls of the fort. Hearing the report of the cannon, they set off on 
their retreat to their homes on Rock river. 

The inhabitants of the place, consisting of a few discharged soldiers 
and some families of half-breeds, now entrenched themselves in the 
" agency house," a log building standing a few rods from the fort. 
It had piazzas in front and rear, which were planked up ; portholes 
were cut, and sentinels posted at night. The enemy was supposed 
to be still lurking in the neighborhood, and an order was issued for- 



UEBECCA HEALD. . 287 

bidding any soldier or citizen to leave the vicinity of the garrison 
without a guard. One night a sergeant and private who were out 
on patrol, came suddenly upon a party of Indians in the pasture 
adjoining the esplanade, and fired upon them as they made good 
their retreat. The next morning traces of blood were found, extend- 
ing some distance into the prairie. On another occasion the savages 
entered the esplanade to steal the horses, and not finding them in 
the stable, made themselves amends for their disappointment by 
stabbing the sheep and then turning them loose. The poor animals 
ran towards the fort; the alarm was given, and parties were sent 
out, but the marauders escaped. 

These occurrences were enough to keep the inmates of the fort in 
a state of apprehension, but they were no further disturbed for many 
weeks. On the afternoon of August 7th, a Pottowattamie chief 
arrived at the post, bearing despatches from Gen. Hull, at Detroit, 
which announced the declaration of war between the United States 
and Great Britain ; also that the island of Mackinaw had fallen into 
the hands of the British. 

The orders to the commanding officer, Capt. Heald, were " to 
evacuate the post, if practicable, and in that event, to distribute all 
the United States' property contained in the fort and the United 
States' factory or agency, among the Indians in the neighborhood." 
After having delivered his despatches, the chief, Winnemeg, requested 
a private interview with Mr. Kinzie, who had taken up his residence 
within the g'arrison, stated that he was acquainted with the purport 
of the communications, and earnestly advised that the post should 
not be evacuated, since the garrison was well supplied with ammu- 
nition and provision for six months. It would be better to remain 
till a reinforcement could be sent to their assistance. In case, how- 
ever, Capt. Heald should decide upon leaving the fort, it should bc^ 
done immediately, as the Potto wattamies, through whose countri 
they must pass, were ignorant of the object of Winnemeg's mission, 
and a forced march might be made before the hostile Indians were 
prepared to intercept them. 
.. Capt. Heald was immediately informed of this advice, and replied 



288 P10.NEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

that it was his intention to evacuate the fort ; but that, inasmuch 
as he had received orders to distribute the United States' property, 
lie would not leave till he had collected the Indians in the neigh- 
borhood and made an equitable division among them. Winnemeg 
then suggested the expediency of marching out and leaving all things 
standing, for while the savages were dividing the spoils the troops 
might possibly effect their retreat unmolested. This counsel, though 
strongly seconded, was not approved by the commanding officer. 

The order for evacuating the post was read the next morning 
upon parade, and in the course of the day, as no council was called, 
the officers waited upon Capt. Heald, and urged him to relinquish 
his design on account of the improbability that the command would 
be permitted to pass in safety to Fort Wayne by the savages, whose 
thirst for slaughter could hardly be controlled by the few individuals 
who were supposed to have friendly feelings towards the Americans. 
Their march must of necessity be slow, as a number of women and 
children, with some invalid soldiers, would accompany the detach- 
ment. Their advice, therefore, was to remain, and fortify themselves 
as strongly as possible, in hopes that succor from the other side of 
the peninsula would arrive before they could be attacked by the 
British from Mackinaw. In reply to this remonstrance Capt. Heald 
urged that he should be censured for remaining when there appeared 
a prospect of a safe march, and that on the wholo he deemed it 
most expedient to assemble the Indians, distribute the property 
among them, and then ask of them an escort to Fort Wayne, with 
the promise of a considerable reward upon their safe arrival, adding 
that he had full confidence in the friendly professions of the savages, 
from whom, as well as from the soldiers, the capture of Mackinaw 
had been kept a profound secret. 

The project was considered a mad one, and much and increasing 
dissatisfaction prevailed among the officers and soldiers. The In- 
dians became every day more unruly. Entering the fort in defiance 
of the sentinels, they often made their way without ceremony to the 
quarters of the officers. On one occasion a savage took up a rifle, 
and fired it in Mrs. Heald's parlor. Some supposed this a signal 



KEBECCA HEALD. 289 

for an attack, as there was vehement agitation among the old chiefs 
and squaws-; but the manifestation of hostile feeling was suppressed, 
and the Captain continued to feel confidence in such an amicable dis- 
position among the Indians, as would ensure the safety of his troops 
on their march to Fort Wayne. 

The inmates of the fort, meanwhile, suffered greatly from appre- 
hension, scarcely daring to yield to sleep at night, and a general 
gloom and distress prevailed. The Indians being assembled from 
the neighboring villages, a council was held with them on the 12th, 
Capt. Heald alone attending on the part of the military, as his offi- 
cers refused to accompany him. Information had secretly been 
brought to them that it was the intention of the young chiefs to fall 
upon them and murder them while in council, but the Captain 
could not be persuaded of the truth of this, and therefore lef* the 
garrison, while the officers who remained took command of the 
block-houses which overlooked the esplanade on which the council 
was held, opened the port-holes, and pointed the cannon so as to 
command the whole assembly. 

" In council, the commanding officer informed the Indians of his 
intention to distribute among them, the next -day, not only the goods 
lodged in the United States' Factory, but also the ammunition and 
provisions with which the garrison was well supplied. He then 
requested of the Pottowattamies an escort to Fort Wayne, promising 
them a liberal reward upon their arrival there, in addition to the 
presents they were now to receive. With many professions of 
friendship and good- will the savages assented to all he proposed, and 
promised all he required. 

" After the council, Mr. Kinzie, who understood well, not only the 
Indian character, but the present tone of feeling among them, 
waited upon Capt. Heald, in the hope of opening his eyes to the 
present posture of affairs. He reminded him that since the trouble 
with the Indians upon the Wabash and its vicinity, there had 
appeared a settled plan of hostilities towards the whites ; in conse- 
quence of which, it had been the policy of the Americans to 
withhold from them whatever would enable them to carry on their 
13 



290 . PIONEER WOMEN OF T11E WEST. 

warfare upon the defenceless settlers on the frontier. Mr. Kinzie 
recalled to Capt. Heald the fact that he had himself left home for 
Detroit the preceding autumn, and receiving, when he had pro- 
ceeded as far as De Charrne's,* the intelligence of the battle of 
Tippecanoe, he had immediately returned to Chicago, that he 
might despatch orders to his traders to furnish no ammunition to 
the Indians ; all that they had on hand was therefore secreted, and 
such of the traders as had not already started for their wintering- 
grounds, took neither powder nor shot with their outfit. 

" Capt. Heald was struck with the impolicy of furnishing 
the enemy, (for such they must now consider their old neighbors,) 
with arms against himself, and determined to destroy all the am- 
munition, excepting what should be necessary for the use of 
his own troops. On the 13th, the goods, consisting of blankets, 
broadcloths, calicos, paints, etc., were distributed, as stipulated. 
The same evening, part of the ammunition and liquor was 
carried into the sally-port, and thrown into a well, which had been 
dug there to supply the garrison with water in case of emergency ; 
the remainder was transported as secretly as possible through the 
northern gate, and the heads of the barrels were knocked in, 
and the contents poured into the river. The same fate was shared 
by a large quantity of alcohol which had been deposited in a ware- 
house opposite the fort. The Indians suspected what was going on, 
and crept as near the scene of action as possible, but a vigilant 
watch was kept up, and no one was suffered to approach but those 
engaged in the affair. All the muskets not necessary for the march 
were broken up and thrown into the well, together with bags of shot, 
flints, gun-screws, etc. 

" Some relief to the general despondency was afforded by 
the arrival, on the 14th of August, of Capt. Wells, with fifteen 
friendly Miamies. He had heard at Fort Wayne of the order for 
evacuating Fort Dearborn, and knowing the hostile determination 
of the Pottowattamies, had made a rapid march across the country 
to prevent the exposure of his relative, Capt. Heald, and his troops 
* A trading establishment now Ypsilanti, 



KEBECCA IIEALD. 291 

to certain destruction. But he came too late. When he reached 
the post, he found that the ammunition had been destroyed, 
and the provisions given to the Indians. There was therefore 
no alternative, and every preparation was made for the march of the 
troops on the following morning. 

"On the afternoon of the same day, a second council was 
held with the Indians. They expressed great indignation at the 
destruction of the ammunition and liquor. Notwithstanding the 
precautions that had been taken to preserve secrecy, the noise 
of knocking in the heads of the barrels had too plainly betrayed 
the operations of the preceding night; and so great was the 
quantity of liquor thrown into the river, that the taste of the water, 
the next morning, was, as one expressed it, t strong grog.' Mur- 
murs and threats were everywhere heard among the savages, and it 
was evident that the first moment of exposure would subject 
the troops to some manifestation of their disappointment and 
resentment. 

" Among the chiefs were several who, although they shared the 
general hostile feeling of their tribe towards the Americans, yet 
retained a personal regard for the troops at this post, and for 
the few white citizens of the place. These exerted their utmost 
influence to allay the revengeful feelings of the young men, and to 
avert their sanguinary designs, but without effect. On the evening 
succeeding the last council, Black Partridge, a conspicuous chief, 
entered the quarters of the commanding officer. ' Father,' said he, 
' 1 come to deliver up to you the medal I wear. It was given me 
by the Americans, and I have long worn it, in token of our mutual 
friendship. But our young men are resolved to imbrue their hands 
in the blood of the whites. I cannot restrain them, and I will not 
wear a token of peace while I am compelled to act as an enemy.' 
Had further evidence been wanting, this circumstance would have 
sufficiently proved to the devoted band the justice of their melan- 
choly anticipations. Nevertheless, they went steadily on with the 
necessary preparations. Of the ammunition there had been reserved 
but twenty-five rounds, besides one box of cartridges, contained ID 



292 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE AVEST. 

the baggage-wagons. This must, under any circumstances of dan- 
ger, have proved an inadequate supply, but the prospect of a 
fatiguing march forbade their embarrassing themselves with a larger 
quantity. 

" The morning of the 15th arrived. All things were in readi- 
ness, and nine o'clock was the hour named for starting. Mr. Kinzie 
had volunteered to accompany the troops in their march, and had 
entrusted his family to the care of some friendly Indians, who had 
promised to convey them in a boat around the head of Lake Michi- 
gan, to a point* on the St. Joseph's river ; there to be joined by 
the troops, should the prosecution of their march be permitted them. 
Early in the morning he received a message from a chief of the St. 
Joseph's band, informing him that mischief was intended by the 
Pottowattamies who had promised to escort the detachment ; and 
urging him to relinquish his design of accompanying the troops by 
land, promising that the boat which should contain himself and 
family, should be permitted to pass in safety to St. Joseph's. Mr. 
Kinzie declined accepting this proposal, as he believed that his pres- 
ence might operate as a restraint on the fury of the savages, so 
warmly were the greater part attached to himself and family. The 
party in the boat consisted of Mrs. Kinzie and her four younger 
children, a clerk, two servants, and the boatmen, besides the Uvo 
Indians who acted as their protectors. The boat started, but had 
scarcely reached the mouth of the river, when another messenger 
from the chief arrived to detain them. 

" In breathless expectation sat the wife and mother. She was a 
woman of uncommon energy and strength of character, yet her 
heart died within her as she folded her arms around her helpless 
infants, and gazed upon the march of her husband and eldest son 
to almost certain destruction. 

" As the troops left the fort the band struck up the dead march. 

* The spot now called Bertrand, then known by the name of Pare aux 
Vachesj from its having been a pasture-ground belonging to an old French 
fort in that neighborhood. 



REBECCA HEALP. 293 

On they came in military array, Capt. Wells taking the lead, at the 
head of his little band of Miamies his face blackened, in token of 
his impending fate,* and took their route along the lake shore. 
When they reached the point where commences the range of sand 
hill intervening between the prairie and the beach, the escort of 
Pottowattamies, in number about five hundred, kept the level of the 
prairie instead of continuing along the beach with the Americans 
and Miamies. They had marched perhaps a mile and a half, when 
Capt. Wells, who was somewhat in advance with his Miamies, came 
riding furiously back. 

" ' They are about to attack us,' shouted he, * form instantly, and 
charge upon them.' 

" Scarcely were the words uttered when a volley was showered 
from among the sand-hills. The troops were hastily brought into 
line, and charged up the bank. One man, a veteran of seventy 
years, fell as they ascended. The remainder of the scene is best 
described in the words of an eye-witness and participator in the 
tragedy Mrs. Helm, the wife of Lieut. Helm, and step-daughter of 
Mr. Kinzie. 

u ' After we had left the bank and gained the prairie, the action 
became general. The Miamies fled at the outset. Their chief rode 
uy to the Pottowattamies, and said, i You have deceived the Amer- 
icans and us ; you have done a bad action, and (brandishing his 
tomahawk) I will be the first to head a party of Americans, and 
return to punish your treachery ;' so saying, he galloped after his 
companions, who were now scouring across the prairies. 

" l The troops behaved most gallantly. They were but a handful, 
but they resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Our 
horses pranced and bounded, and could hardly be restrained, as the 
balls whistled among them. I drew off a little, and gazed upon my 

* Col. Johnson says that Capt. Wells seeing all was lost, and not wishing 
to fall into the hands of the Indians, wetted powder and blacked his face in 
token of defiance, provoking the Indians, in the heat of the action, by taunts 
and jeers, to despatch him at once, instead of attempting to take him 
prisoner. 



294: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

husband and father, who were yet unharmed. I felt that my hour 
was come, and endeavored to forget those I loved, and prepare 
myself for my approaching fate. While I was thus engaged, the 
surgeon came up. He was badly wounded. His horse had been 
shot under him, and he had received a ball in his leg. Every 
muscle of his countenance was quivering with the agony of terror. 
He said to me, ' Do you think they will take our lives ? I am badly 
wounded, but I think not mortally. Perhaps we might purchase 
our lives by promising them a large reward. Do you think there is 
any chance V 

" ' Doctor,' said I, * do not let us waste the few moments that yet 
remain to us, in such vain hopes. Our fate is inevitable. In a few 
moments we must appear before the bar of God. Let us endeavor 
to make what preparation is yet in our power.' * Oh ! I cannot die !' 
exclaimed he, ' 1 am not fit to die if 1 had but a short time to pre- 
pare death is awful !' I pointed to Ensign Ronan, who, though 
mortally wounded, and nearly down, was still fighting with despera- 
tion upon one knee. 

" i Look at that man,' said I ; t he at least dies like a soldier !' 

" * Yes,' replied the unfortunate man, with a convulsive gasp, ( but 
he has no terrors for the future he is an unbeliever !' 

" c At this moment, a young Indian raised his tomahawk at me. 
By springing aside, I avoided the blow which was intended for my 
skull, but which alighted on my shoulder. I seized him round the 
neck, and while exerting my utmost efforts to get possession of his 
scalping-knife, which hung in a scabbard over his breast, I was 
dragged from his grasp by an older Indian, who bore me, struggling 
and resisting, towards the lake. Notwithstanding the rapidity with 
which I was hurried along, I recognised, as I passed them, the 
lifeless remains of the unfortunate surgeon. Some murderous torn- 

o 

ahawk had stretched him upon the very spot where I had last seen 
him. 

" * I was immediately plunged into the water, and held there with 
a forcible hand, notwithstanding my resistance. I soon perceived, 



REBECCA HEALD. 295 

however, that the object of my captor was not to drown me, as he 
held me firmly in such a position as to place my head above the 
water. This reassured me, and regarding him attentively, I soon 
recognised, in spite of the paint with which he was disguised, The 
Black Partridge. 

" * When the firing had somewhat subsided, my preserver bore 
me from the water, and conducted me up the sand-banks. It was a 
burning August morning, ^md walking through the sand in my 
drenched condition, was inexpressibly painful and fatiguing. I 
stooped and took off my shoes, to free them from the sand with 
which they were nearly filled, when a squaw seized and carried them 
off, and I was obliged to proceed without them. When we had 
gained the prairie, I was met by my father, who told me that my 
husband was safe, and but slightly wounded. They led me gently 
back toward the Chicago river, along the southern bank of which 
was the Pottowattamie encampment. At one time, I was placed 
upon a horse without a saddle, but soon finding the motion insup- 
portable, I sprang off. Supported partly by my kind conductor, 
and partly by another Indian, who held dangling in his hand the 
scalp of Capt. Wells, I dragged my fainting steps to one of the 
wigwams.' " 

At the commencement of the action Capt. Wells was riding by 
the side of his niece. He said to her that he was satisfied there was 
not the least chance for his life, and that they must part to meet no 
more in this world, then started away to charge with the rest. It is 
said that Mrs. Heald saw him fall from his horse, struck by several 
rifle balls. Another account states that after the surrender, while 
an Indian was cruelly butchering some white children, Capt. Wells 
exclaimed, " then I will kill too," and set off towards the Indian 
camp near the fort, where their squaws and children had been left. 
Several pursued him, firing as he galloped along. He laid himself 
flat on the neck of his horse, loading and firing in that position, but 
was at length severely wounded, and his horse killed. Two friendly 
Indians who met him endeavored to save him from his enemies, and 
supported him after disengaging him from his horse, but he received 



296 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bis death-blow from one of his pursuers, who stabbed him in the 
back. 

The charging of the troops drove back the Indians a considerable 
distance into the prairie, where the Captain ordered his men, dimin- 
ished by more than two thirds of their number, to halt, and after a 
parley with the savages, agreed to surrender, stipulating that their 
lives should be spared, and that they should be delivered at^one of 
the British posts, unless ransomed by traders in the Indian country. 
It appeared afterwards that the savages did not consider the wounded 
prisoners as included in the stipulation. 

The lady whose narrative has been quoted, says, after she was 
taken to the wigwam, " the wife of a chief from the Illinois river was 
standing near, and seeing my exhausted condition, she seized a kettle, 
dipped up some water from a little stream that flowed near, threw 
into it some maple sugar, and stirring it up with her hand, gave it 
to me to drink. This act of kindness, in the midst of so many atro- 
cities, touched me most sensibly, but my attention was soon diverted 
to other objects. An old squaw, infuriated by the loss of friends, 
or excited by the sanguinary scenes around her, seemed possessed 
by a demoniac ferocity. She seized a stable-fork, and assaulted ono 
miserable victim, who lay groaning and writhing in the agony of his 
wounds, aggravated by the scorching beams of the sun. With a 
delicacy of feeling scarcely to have been expected under such circum- 
stances, the chief stretched a mat across two poles, between me and 
this dreadful scene. I was thus spared, in some degree, a view of 
its horrors, although I could not entirely close my ears to the cries 
of the sufferer. The following night five more of the wounded 
prisoners were tomahawked. 

" The heroic resolution of one of the soldiers' wives deserves to be 
recorded. She liad from the first expressed a determination never 
to fall into the hands of the savages, believing that their prisoners 
were always subjected to tortures worse than death. When, there- 
fore, a party came upon her, to make her prisoner, she fought with 
desperation, refusing to surrender, although assured of safe treatment ; 



REBECCA HEALD. 297 

and literally suffered herself to be cut to pieces, rather than become 
their captive. / 

" The horse Mrs. Heald rode was a fine, spirited animal, and the 
Indians were desirous to possess themselves of it unwounded. They 
therefore aimed their shots so as to disable the rider, without injur- 
ing her steed. This was at length accomplished, and her captor was 
in the act of disengaging her hat from, her head, in order to scalp 
her, when young Chandonnai, a half-breed from St. Joseph's, ran 
up and offered for her ransom a mule he had just taken, adding the 
promise of ten bottles of whiskey, 'so soon as he should reach his vil- 
lage. The latter was a strong temptation. 4 But,' said the Indian, 
4 she is badly wounded she will die will you give me the whiskey 
at all events ? ' Chandonnai promised that he would, and the bar- 
gain was concluded. Mrs. Heald was placed in the boat with Mrs. 
Kinzie and her children, covered with a buffalo robe, and enjoined 
silence as she valued her life. In this situation the heroic woman 
remained, without uttering a sound that could betray her to the 
savages, who were continually coming to the boat in search of 
prisoners, but who always retired peaceably when told that it con- 
tained only the family of Shaw-ne-au-kee. When the boat was at 
length permitted to return to the mansion of Mr. Kinzie, and Mrs. 
Heald was removed to the house for the purpose of dressing her 
wounds, Mr. Kinzie applied to an old chief who stood by, and who, 
like most of his tribe, possessed some skill in surgery, to extract a 
ball from the arm of the sufferer. i No, father,' replied he, ' I cannot 
do it it makes me sick here ! ' placing his hand upon his heart. 

" From the Pottowattamie encampment, the family of Mr. Kinzie 
were conveyed across the river to their own mansion. There they 
were closely guarded by their Indian friends, whose intention it was 
to carry them to Detroit for security. The rest of the prisoners 
remained at the wigwams of their captors. The following morning, 
the work of plunder being completed, the Indians set fire to the 
fort. A very equitable distribution of the finery appeared to have 
been made, and shawls, ribbons, and feathers, were seen fluttering 
about in all directions. The ludicrous appearance of one young 
13* 



298 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

fellow, who had arrayed himself in a muslin gown, and the bonnet 
of the commanding officer's lady, would under other circumstances 
have afforded matter of amusement. 

" Black Partridge and Wau-ban-see, with three others of the 
tribe, having established themselves in the porch of the building as 
sentinels, to protect the family of Mr. Kinzie from any evil, all 
remained tranquil for a short space after the conflagration. Very 
soon, however, a party of Indians from the Wabash made their 
appearance. These were the most hostile and implacable of all the 
bands of the Pottowattamies. Being more remote, they had shared 
less than some of their brethren in the kindness of Mr. Kinzie and 
his family, and consequently their sentiments of regard for them 
were less powerful. Runners had been sent to the villages, to 
apprise them of the intended evacuation of the post, as well as the 
plan of the Indians assembled, to attack the troops. Thirsting to 
participate in such a scene, they hurried on, and great was their 
mortification, on arriving at the river Aux Plaines, to meet with a 
party of their friends, having their chief badly wounded, and to 
learn that the battle was over, the spoils divided, and the scalps all 
taken. / 

" On arriving at Chicago, they blackened their faces, and pro- 
ceeded towards the residence of Mr. Kinzie. From his station on 
the piazza, Black Partridge had watched their approach, and his 
fears were particularly awakened for the safety of Mrs. Helm, who 
had recently come to the post, and was personally unknown to the 
more remote Indians. By his advice, she assumed the ordinary 
dress of a Frenchwoman of the country, a short gown and petticoat, 
with a blue cotton handkerchief wrapped around her head ; and in 
this disguise she was conducted ly Black Partridge to the house of 
Ouilmette, a Frenchman with a half-breed wife, who formed a part 
of the establishment of Mr. Kinzie, and whose dwelling was close at 
hand. It so happened that the Indians came first to this house in 
their search for prisoners. As they approached, the inmates, fearful 
that the fair complexion and general appearance of Mi's. Helm 
might betray her for an American, raised the large feather bed and 



REBECCA HEALD. 299 

placed her under the edge of it, upon the bedstead, with her face to 
the wall. Mrs. Bisson, the sister of Ouilmette's wife, then seated 
herself with her sewing upon the front of the bed. It was a hot day 
in August, and the feverish excitement of fear and agitation, 
together with her position, which was nearly suffocating, were so 
painful, that Mrs. Helm at length entreated to be released and given 
up to the Indians. ' I can but die,' said she, ' let them put an end 
to my miseries at once.' Mrs. Bisson replied, ' Your death would 
be the signal for the destruction of us all, for Black Partridge is 
resolved, if one drop of the blood of your family is spilled, to take 
the lives of all concerned in it, even his nearest friends, and if once 
the work of murder commences, there will be no end of it, so long 
as there remains one white person or half-breed in the country.' 
This expostulation nerved Mrs. Helm with fresh resolution. The 
Indians entered, and she could occasionally see them from her hid- 
ing-place, gliding about and inspecting every part of the room, 
though without making any ostensible search, until, apparently 
satisfied that there was no one concealed, they left the house. All 
this time, Mrs. Bisson kept her seat upon the side of the bed, calmly 
assorting and arranging the patchwork of the quilt on which she 
was engaged, although she knew not but that the next moment she 
might receive a tomahawk in her brain. Her self-command un- 
questionably saved the lives of all present. 

" From Ouilmette's the savages proceeded to the dwelling of Mr. 
Kinzie. They entered the parlor, in which were assembled tho 
family, with their faithful protectors, and seated themselves upon tho 
floor in profound silence. Black Partridge perceived, from their 
moody and revengeful looks, what was passing in their minds, but 
dared not remonstrate with them. He only observed in a low tone 
1o Wau-ban-see, * We have endeavored to save our friends, but it 
is in vain nothing will save them now.' At this moment a friendly 
whoop was heard from a party of new comers, on the opposite bank 
of the river. Black Partridge sprang to meet their leader, as the 
canoes in which they had hastily embarked touched the bank, and 
bade him make all speed to the house. Billy Caklwell, for it was 



300 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

lie, entered the parlor with a calm step, and without a trace of agi- 
tation in his manner. He deliberately- took off his accoutrements, 
and placed them with his rifle behind the door ; then saluted the 
hostile savages. 

" * How now, my friends ! A good day to you. I was told 
there were enemies here, but I am glad to find only friends. Why 
have you blackened your faces ? Is it that you are mourning for 
the friends you have lost in the battle ? (purposely misunderstand- 
ing this token of evil designs) or is it that you are fasting ? 
If so, ask our friend here, and he will give you to eat. He is the 
Indians' friend, and never yet refused them what they had need of.' 

" Thus taken by surprise, the savages were ashamed to acknow- 
ledge their bloody purpose ; they therefore said modestly, that they 
came to beg of their friend some white cotton, in which to wrap 
their dead before interring them. This was given them, together 
with some other presents, and they took their departure from the 
premises. 

" Little remains to be told. On the third day after the battle, the 
family of Mr. Kinzie, with the clerks of the establishment, were 
put in a boat, under the care of Francois, a half-breed interpreter, 
and conveyed to St. Joseph's, where they remained until the follow- 
ing November. They were then carried to Detroit, under % the 
escort of Chandonnai and a trusty Indian friend, and together with 
their negro servants, delivered up as prisoners of war to the British 
commanding officer. It had been a stipulation at the surrender of 
Detroit by Gen. Hull, that the American inhabitants should retain 
the liberty of remaining undisturbed in their own dwellings, and 
accordingly this family was permitted a quiet residence among their 
friends at that place. Mr. Kinzie was not allowed to leave St. 
Joseph's with his family, his Indian friends insisting upon his re- 
maining to endeavor to secure some remnant of his scattered pro- 
perty, but anxiety for his family induced him to follow them in 
January to Detroit, where he was received as a prisoner, and 
paroled by Gen. Proctor. 

" Of the other prisoners, Capt. and Mrs. Heald had been sent 



REBECCA HEALD. 301 

across the Lake to St. Joseph's the day after the battle. Capt. 
fieald had received two wounds, and Mrs. Heald seven, the ball of 
one of which was cut out of her arm with a pen-knife by Mr. 
Kinzie, after the engagement. 

" Capt. Heald was taken prisoner by an Indian from the Kankakee, 
who had a strong personal regard for him, and who, when he saw 
the wounded and enfeebled state of Mrs. Heald, released his prisoner, 
that he might accompany his wife to St. Joseph's. To the latter 
place they were accordingly carried by Chandonnai and his party. 
In the meantime, the Indian who had so nobly released his captive, 
returned to his village on the Kankakee, where he had the mortifi- 
cation of finding . that his conduct had excited great dissatisfaction 
among his band. So great was the displeasure manifested that he 
resolved to make a journey to St. Joseph's and reclaim his prisoner. 
News of his intention being brought to the chiefs under whose care 
the prisoners were, they held a private council with Chandonnai and 
the principal men of the village, the result of which was a deter- 
mination to send Capt. and Mrs. Heald to the island of Mackinaw, 
and deliver them up to the British. They were accordingly put in 
a bark canoe and paddled by the chief of the Pottowattamies, Rob- 
inson, and his wife, a distance of three hundred miles along the 
coast of Lake Michigan, and surrendered as prisoners of war to the 
commanding officer at Mackinaw. 

" Lieut. Helm, who was likewise wounded, was carried by some 
friendly Indians to their village, on the Au Sable and thence to St. 
Louis, where he was liberated by the intervention of Thomas For- 
syth, a trader among them. Mrs. Helm accompanied her father's 
family to Detroit. In the engagement she received a slight wound 
on the ancle, and had her horse shot under her. 

" The soldiers, with their wives and children, were dispersed among 
the different villages of the Pottowattamies, upon the Illinois, Wa- 
bash, Rock River, and Milwaukie, until the following spring, when 
they were for the most part carried to Detroit, and ransomed. Some, 
however, were detained in captivity another year, during wnich 



302 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

period they experienced more kindness than was to have been ex- 
pected from an enemy in most cases so merciless." 

Gen. Hunt adds, that some months after the massacre at Chicago, 
he met Capt. and Mrs. Heald, walking in the street in Detroit. 
They had just come from Mackinaw in a vessel, and were much 
pleased to see their old friend. Mrs. Heald had recovered from her 
wounds, and appeared to be as well as she had ever been. It is 
probable that, after the termination of the war, her life was one of 
quiet usefulness, like that of her sister pioneers ; the occurrences in 
which she had borne so prominent a part serving to relate as truth 
more strange than fiction, to those whose fortunes had led them into 
less stirring scenes. 

MRS. HELM was the daughter of Col. McKillip, a British officer 
attached to one of the companies who in 1794 were engaged in sus- 
taining the Indian tribes in Northern Ohio against the government 
of the United States. He lost his life at the fort at the Miami 
Kapids, now Perrysburg. He had gone out at night to reconnoitre, 
and returning in a stealthy manner, was mistaken for an enemy, 
fired upon, and mortally wounded by his own sentinel. His widow 
afterwards became the wife of John Kinzie, with whom, in 1803, 
she removed to Chicago, then a mere trading post among the 
Pottowattamies. 

At the age of eighteen, the daughter was married to Lieut. Lina 
J. Helm, of Kentucky. Her death took place at Watersville, in 
Michigan, in 1844, and was very sudden. She had just risen from 
the tea-table one of the company having read to her a newspaper 
paragraph relating to Henry Clay ; and she said, " I hope I shall 
live to see that man President." Scarcely were the words uttered, 
than she fell backwards into the arms of an attendant and almost 
instantly expired. Her interest in the great statesman is an evidence 
of the patriotic feeling for which she was always remarkable. She 
was generous, high-minded, and disinterested; possessing a calm 
strength of nature, and was energetic and indefatigable in action. Her 
piety was pure and ardent, yet wholly untinctured with fanaticism ; 
the faith and love by which the true Christian lifts his heart to God, 



MES. HELM. 303 

and with a sincerity and devotion rarely equalled, did she obey the 
precept, " thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." 

Our wonder may well be excited at the heroism and the sufferings 
borne with such sturdy fortitude, of the pioneer women whose lot 
was cast in the midst of the troubles upon the frontier. Yet their 
attachment to this wild, unsettled life was still more remarkable ; 
for as the country became settled, they would encourage their hus- 
bands or sons to "sell out," and remove still further into the 
wilderness. 

During the time of the possession of Detroit by the British, after 
the surrender of Gen. Hull, the frontier settlement suffered much 
from Indian depredation. The capture of the family of Mr. Snow, 
taken by. the Ottawa Indians from their home on Cole Creek, 
in Huron County, may illustrate the experience of many unfor- 
tunates whose names tradition has not preserved. Mr. Snow 
chanced to be absent, when his house was surrounded by a hostile 
party, and his wife and nine children were made prisoners. The sa- 
vages immediately started on their return, and had gone about five 
miles, travelling on foot, when it became evident that Mrs. Snow, 
whose health was delicate, could not drag herself much further. A 
brief council was held among the savages, and it was decided that 
she must be killed. Two young men were appointed to put the 
cruel sentence in execution, while the rest of the party moved for- 
ward ; the victim being ordered to keep her seat upon a log. Here 
her lifeless body was found by her husband and the men in pursuit. 
It is a somewhat curious circumstance, that one of the Indians who 
killed the unfortunate woman, afterwards expressed his remorse for 
the deed, and said he knew the Great Spirit was angry with him, 
for that the ground had trembled when she screamed, and his right 
arm had become completely withered by a rheumatic affection. 
His death might have been deemed also a judgment for the crime.; 
in a fit of intoxication he fell into the fire and burned himself so 
severely that he expired in a short time. 

" On a beautiful Sunday morning in Detroit," continues my in- 
formant, " I heard the scalp whoop of a war party coming up the 



304 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

river. When they came near, I discovered that they were carrying 
a woman's scalp upon a pole, and that they had with them, 
as prisoners, a family of nine children, from three years old up to 
\wo girls full grown. These little captives had nothing on their 
heads, and their clothes were torn into shreds by the brushwood and 
the bushes in the way by which they had come. I went to meet 
them, brought them into my house, gave them and their Indian 
captors a meal, with a few loaves of bread for further use, and told 
the children not to be frightened or uneasy, for that my brother 
would buy them from the Indians when he should return from 
Canada, whither he had gone to spend the Sabbath with his father- 
in-law. The next day the prisoners came again, accompanied by 
about five hundred Indians. My brother paid five hundred dollars 
for their ransom, and sent them home. The girls informed me that 
they had been treated by the Indians with kindness and respect. 
Indeed, it may be recorded, to the praise of the Indian character, 
and in extenuation of their cruelties, that an instance has not been 
known of improper conduct towards a captive white woman. Their 
apology for the murder of Mrs. Snow was, that they feared her 
release might lead to their discoveiy by the whites in pursuit." 

The Rev. J. M. Peck of Illinois mentions the name of Catharine 
Lemen, as a pioneer who came to that region as early as 178G, with 
her husband and two children. The family were exposed to Indian 
depredations during the whole period of the border troubles ; and 
many instances are remembered in which she exhibited a heroic and 
Christian spirit. She had ten children, four of whom became 
ministers of the gospel. Mrs. Edwards, the wife of Governor 
Edwards, is also mentioned as a matron distinguished for lofty and 
heroic traits of character. She sustained her husband through his 
public life, having the entire management of his large estate and its 
settlement after his death. * 



XVIIL 

ABIGAIL SPELLING. 

THOMAS HUNT, the father of the subject of the present memoir 
was a Revolutionary officer, and a native of Watertown, Massachu- 
setts. He entered the American army as a volunteer, and was soon? 
commissioned in the regular service ; was in the expedition against 
Ticonderoga commanded by Ethan Allen, and one of the party who 
made themselves masters of Crown Point. He was with Gen. 
Wajme at Stoney Point, among the volunteers of the " forlorn 
hope," and was there wounded in the ankle. In 1794, he joined 
the army under Wayne against the Indians, and served out the 
campaign, returning then to his family residence at Watertown. 
In 1798, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of 
the first regiment of infantry, and ordered to Fort Wayne, where 
he remained until the death of Col. Hamtramack at Detroit, when he 
became Colonel, and took the command of that post, remained 
there some time, and afterwards went to Mackinaw. 

Our heroine was but six weeks old when the family left Water- 
town, and was carried on a pillow in such a vehicle as was then 
used for stages, over very rough roads, for many miles only ren- 
dered passable by logs placed side by side, forming what are 
termed corduroy roads. The severity of the exercise, as may be 
remembered by those who have travelled over such roads in a new 



306 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

country, always caused an outcry on approaching them, from man, 
woman, and child, with petitions to get out and walk ; frequently 
at the risk of being bitten by rattlesnakes which were often conceal- 
ed between the logs. When they arrived at Mackinaw, they 
went to the Government House, which they were to occupy. The 
English commander had left it with the furniture, even the window 
curtains suspended from the windows, and there was an air of com- 
fort in and about the house. The Fort stood on the height, the 
town was small, the streets were very narrow, the houses built in 
the old French style, and the town was enclosed with pickets, with 
a gate at each end. 

One of the little girl's earliest recollections was visiting in the 
family of a Scotch gentleman, Dr. Mitchell, who had married an 
Indian wife. She dressed herself in silks and satins when at home, 
but resumed her native dress when among the Chippewas, her own 
people. She would sometimes be absent many months, purchasing 
furs to send to Montreal, for her agent there to sell ; and in this way 
she amassed a large fortune for her husband. At one time, after 
she had been absent more than six months, it was reported that she 
had been killed by some rival trader. She heard on her way 
home that such news had been received, and when her flotilla ap- 
peared in sight, threw herself on the bottom of her birch canoe. 
Her husband, with spy-glass in hand, was on the beach, eagerly 
looking to see if indeed his wife was not there, and was about turn- 
ing away with a heavy heart, when she leaped from her bark ex- 
claiming, " Not dead yet !" Her two daughters were sent to Mon- 
treal to be educated, and returned home highly accomplished and 
very beautiful women. One of them afterwards married an officer. 
, Abigail was about seven years old when her parents left Mackinaw 
tc return to Detroit, on their way to St. Louis. The troops 
had left Detroit but a short time when the town was burned to ashes, 
in 1805. The little party reached Fort Wayne, where they rested 
for a week, at which time Col. Hunt's eldest daughter, not quite 
fifteen, was married to the surgeon of the post, Dr. Edwards. She 
was left behind when the family resumed their journey, and they 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 307 

proceeded in a flat-bottomed boat, called an "ark," which could 
only be used in descending with the current, Col. Hunt had one 
of these boats partitioned off into rooms, making a parlor, bed- 
rooms, and kitchen ; bedsteads were put up, and each apartment 
arranged in the same order as in a house. This was a slow mode 
of travelling, but extremely comfortable, and little apprehension was 
felt at that time of the Indians, although they frequently surrounded 
the boat, begging for bread and some of their " father's milk" 
(whiskey). At Vincennes, the voyagers were hospitably received at 
the house of Gen. W. H. Harrison, but their stay was short, and 
they proceeded to St. Louis. Gen. Wilkinson was there at that 
time, and ordered Col. Hunt to take command of the garrison- at 
the mouth of the Missouri, eighteen miles above St. Louis. This 
was about the time of Burr's conspiracy, and a court martial was 
immediately held to try a Major Bruffj who was suspected of being 
one of his adherents. He was acquitted. Then arrived at the gar- 
rison Lewis and Clark, from their exploring expedition ; and the 
peculiar appearance of their dress, made of deerskins, the outer 
garment fringed and worked with porcupine quills, something be- 
tween a military undress frock coat and Indian shirt, with their 
leggins and moccasins, three-cornered cocked hats and long beards, 
caused no small wonder among the younger members of the family. 
Gen. Pike was at this time a captain in Col. Hunt's regiment, 
and was selected by the government to explore the Upper Missis- 
sippi. He left his wife and little daughter under the protection of 
Col. Hunt, on his departure in the following year. His absence was 
prolonged nearly two years, during which time his friend was re- 
moved from this world. Col. Hunt died after a protracted illness, 
in 1809. The dispensation was a heart-breaking one to the devoted 
wife. She did not, could not, shed a tear, but would sigh continu- 
ally, and sometimes exclaim, " Oh ! that I could weep what a 
relief it would be !" Ere long she was unable to swallow solid 
food, and even liquids without difficulty. Some friends thought 
visiting the grave would have the effect of making her weep, but it 
threw her into spasms, after which no further effort was made, and 



308 PIOXEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

she gradually sank, until she died in six months after the death of 
her husband. 

Mrs. Hunt's eldest son, twenty-two years of age, was then just, 
established in business as a merchant in Detroit. When he heard 
of his father's death, he prepared immediately to meet the family 
at St. Louis, and on the journey tidings reached him that his 
mother also was no more. This double bereavement, with the 
responsibility of a large family depending upon his care, was too 
heavy a burden for his anxious mind. He became ill of a fever, 
which reduced him so much, that on arriving at St. Louis he could 
scarcely reach the house of a friend where the family were awaiting 
his arrival. For the first time in her life, his little sister felt a 
dreary sense of desolation a knowledge that she was homeless, 
and an orphan. No tender mother now called her child to her in 
the evening to say her prayers ; no longer were the children assem- 
bled together on the Sabbath afternoon to be instructed from the 
Bible and catechism. This feeling of loneliness added to the poig- 
nancy of grief for her departed parents ; the first of the sorrows by 
which that young, gentle, loving heart was to be tried the first 
experience of the universal lot of humanity. The young mourner 
was led, in that time of suffering, to turn to the Bible for consolation, 
and was consoled in the promise there found, " I will be a father to 
the fatherless." 

As soon as her brother had recovered his strength, the family 
commenced their journey, their destination being Waltham, Massa- 
chusetts, where their maternal grandfather, Mr. Samuel Wellington, 
resided. When they reached Vincennes, they were again received 
into the family of Gen. Harrison, and stayed two weeks to recruit. 
The mode of conveyance at that time was in an open barge, with 
an awning stretched over it. The crew were soldiers for a part of 
the way, afterwards Frenchmen, " voyageurs," as they were called. 
Tents were pitched every night, and the evening was spent in pre- 
paring food for the following day. The party was often supplied 
with game by the Indians, who frequently spread their blankets 
around their fires to sleep for the night ; yet though the savages 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 309 

were friendly, the children could not divest themselves of fear 
which often drove away sleep at night, to be made up by sleeping 
all the next day in the boat. The next stopping place was Fort 
Wayne, where the eldest sister, Mrs. Edwards, had been left six 
years before. The meeting was an affecting one. The travellers 
did not remain long, as Mr. Hunt's business demanded his presence 
in Detroit. One of the brothers, John E. Hunt, was left with Dr. 
Edwards, and the youngest but one of the sisters (now married to 
Mr. Wendell, of Detroit) ; and as soon as Mr. Hunt had arranged 
his business, the rest resumed their journey, another brother, 
Thomas, being left in Detroit in his brother's store as clerk. After- 
wards, in 1812, he was commissioned in the army as captain. 

After a tedious journey of months, the travellers arrived at 
their grand-father's in Waltham. Abby was sent to a boarding 
school in Salem, under the charge of Mrs. Cranch, and there 
remained until some time in 1811. Col. Henry J. Hunt of Detroit, 
who was then married to Miss Ann Mackintosh of Moy, Canada, 
then came, in company with his wife, to take his sister, and she re- 
turned with them to Detroit. 

The following year, war was declared with Great Britain. The 
first intimation had of it in Detroit was seeing the ferryboat hauled 
up, and the ferryman taken prisoner and sent to Maiden. 
This caused a dreadful sensation in the town, especially in the house 
of Col. Hunt, his wife being deprived of the privilege of communica- 
tion with her father's family, and plunged into deep distress on that 
account. There were many other families in the same situation ; 
and brother seemed arrayed against each other. The only Protest- 
ant church near enough to be attended every Sunday, was at Sand- 
wich, nearly opposite Detroit, and the Hunt family had always 
crossed the river on Saturday, spending Sunday at Mr. Mackintosh's 
in order to attend the Episcopal service. It was the first Protestant 
church Miss Hunt had ever attended, and she was there baptised and 
received the communion. The privation of such privileges was 
deeply felt by her. 

Before long, intelligence was brought of the approach and the 



310 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

arrival of Gen. Hull's army at the Maurnee on the 30th of June. 
The troops had collected at Dayton to the number of about two 
thousand drafted men and volunteers from Ohio ; the regular force 
comprising about three hundred soldiers. They had cut their way 
through the wilderness and endured many hardships. The 4th 
regiment, commanded by Col. James Miller, had acquired a good 
reputation in the battle of Tippecanoe under Gen. Harrison on the 
6th of November, 1811. None of the officers had distinguished 
themselves more than Capt. Snelling. He was one of the gallant 
band that made a successful charge, and drove the enemy into the 
swamp, putting an end to the conflict. An incident of this battle 
gave occasion for the exercise of his benevolence. At dawn of day 
a lad fourteen years old, was seen bending over the lifeless body 
of his father, which lay weltering in blood, and proved to be that of 
Capt. Spencer of the militia. The lad had been seen fighting by 
his father's side during the engagement, and even after his death, 
at one moment weeping for his parent, the next loading his rifle and 
firing upon the enemy. Capt. Snelling was much interested in the 
boy, took charge of him, and afterwards petitioned for a cadet's 
warrant, which he received, and sent him to West Point. From 
that institution he graduated at the termination of four years with 
honor, and while there sent every month half his pay to his widowed 
mother, then in Kentucky. He received a commission in the army 
and many years afterwards died, having the rank of major. 

Before leaving the Maumee, Gen. Hull sent a vessel to Detroit, 
in which were placed his sick and most of his goods, sending with it 
his instructions and army roll. The British at Maiden having in- 
formation of the declaration of war, captured the vessel and unsus- 
pecting crew, and from them received the first intelligence of the 
war. Capt. Gooding, of the 4th regiment, and his wife were on 
board. She related afterwards an exploit of her's while at Maiden, 
which showed the tenderness of female nature combined with manly 
perseverance and courage. The prisoners were confined below deck, 
and very much crowded, as it was a small vessel ; the weather was 
very warm, they were fed with salt meat, without sugar, tea or 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 311 

coffee, and many fell sick. When Mrs. Gooding was told by the 
Captain of their situation, she set her wits to work to contrive how 
to relieve them. She knew they were soon to be sent in the same 
vessel to Montreal, and no time was to be lost. She obtained leave 
from one in authority to visit a family up the river with whom she 
had formerly been acquainted, and walked on a mile or more alone, 
without exactly knowing what she was about to do, when she ob- 
served a large house on a farm which seemed blessed with abund- 
ance. She entered, introduced herself to the lady of the house, and 
told her, in a very pathetic narrative, who she was, the situation of 
the sick prisoners, and her desire to awaken sympathy in the *hearts 
of those who had it in their power to relieve them. The lady hesi- 
tated a moment and then said, " What can I do in this matter ? If 
I listen to the dictates of my own heart, I could easily fill you 
a basket with coffee, tea and sugar, rice, etc., but I dare not send 
it." " Listen to the dictates of that heart," cried Mrs. Gooding, " I 
myself will carry the basket, and if you have fresh meat for soup I 
can conceal it in the bushes until I can convey it to the vessel." 
The lady immediately had a lamb killed ; Mrs. Gooding herself hid 
it ; managed to carry the basket on board that afternoon, and in 
the evening, before nine o'clock, the four quarters of lamb. 

Gen. Hull arrived with his army at Detroit early in July. Dr. 
Edwards joined the army at Dayton, as Major of one of the regi- 
ments, and had John E. Hunt with him, so that amidst the din of 
war their young sister was rejoiced to see them again. In a few 
days Capt. Snelling was introduced to Miss Hunt, as one of the 
heroes of Tippecanoe, by Maj. Edwards ; and soon after the young 
officer asked the brother's permission to address her. In due time 
they were engaged. 

On the 12th July, Gen. Hull crossed the river to Sandwich, and 
established his forces there, with a view to the attack on Maiden. 
Many of the officers urged him immediately to storm that place, 
which was twelve miles below his encampment, and then very weakly 
garrisoned, as was made known to the officers by deserters who 
came thence after they heard Gen. Hull had crossed. Captain 



312 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Snelling said, " Give me permission, and with my company and 
those who will volunteer, I will make the attempt." Colonels Cass 
and Miller, by an attack on the advanced party, on La Riviere Can- 
ard, showed that the men were able and willing to push their con- 
quest if the chance were given ; but they were suddenly recalled, 
and the enterprize was abandoned. On the 7th of August Gen. 
Hull returned to Detroit, much to the disappointment of the whole 
army, who now had lost all confidence in him, since he had lost, by 
refusing to listen to his eager officers, the opportunity of obtaining 
possession of the key to the Canadian provinces, when it might have 
been taken with scarce the firing of a gun. 

Col. Proctor soon after arrived at Maiden, attempted to cut off 
supplies from Ohio, and succeeded in stopping some stores on their 
way to Detroit, at the river Raisin, thirty-six miles distant, defeating 
Van Horn, who had been sent by Gen. Hull to escort them. On 
receiving this intelligence, Gen. Hull sent three hundred regulars, 
the 4th Regiment and two hundred militia, under the command of 
Col. James Miller, to open the communication. The British had 
thrown up a breastwork four miles from Brownstown, at a place 
called Monguagon, behind which a great jmmber of the Indians under 
Tecumseh lay concealed. On the 9th of August, while on its march, 
the detachment drew near the ambuscade. The advanced guard, 
commanded by Capt. Snelling, was considerably in advance of the 
main body when suddenly the attack was made on him. His party 
sustained themselves until Gen. Miller, with the utmost speed and 
coolness, drew up his men, opened a brisk fire and then charged. 
The British regulars gave way, but the Indians under Tecumseh 
betaking themselves to the woods on each side, did much execution. 
The British again rallied, and were again repulsed ; and Majors Midl- 
and Tecumseh both being wounded, were compelled to yield, retiring 
slowly before the bayonets to Brownstown. They would all have 
been taken prisoners had they not had boats in readiness to cross 
the river. During the engagement a" mounted officer delayed charg- 
ing as he was ordered ; Capt. Snelling directed him to dismount, 
and himself sprung upon the horse. The officer being a tall man, 



ABIGAIL SHELLING. 313 

he found the stirrups much too long, but there was no time to be 
lost ; he therefore clung to the horse with his knees, and in this 
ludicrous predicament performed the duty which belonged to another. 
His brother officers often laughed at the recollection of his appear- 
ance at that time. 

Meanwhile his friends in Detroit hearing the roar of the cannon 
knew there was fighting. Thomas Hunt was then a volunteer, and 
the feelings of the young girl, whose brother and betrothed lover 
were in danger, may be imagined. Young Hunt had rode a white 
horse, which returned and stood at the stable door, the saddle pulled 
away and covered with blood ; and the conclusion was inevitable 
that he had fallen from his horse, either killed or wounded. As 
cart after cart came in with the wounded, Miss Hunt heard it whis- 
pered, " It must be Capt. Snelling," and on enquiry was informed 
that an officer answering the description of him had been mortally 
wounded. In the agony of her feelings she was about rushing by all 
to the cart when she was forcibly detained, and some one went to as- 
certain if it indeed was so ; but soon returned with a bright counte- 
nance, saying, " it is not Snelling, it is Peters, and he is only slightly 
wounded." On further inquiry she learned that Mr. Hunt was safe, 
having given up his horse for the use of a wounded man who had 
fainted and fallen off. The next day the absentees returned. In 
this engagement Capt. Snelling had his hat knocked off by a ball, 
and the hilt of his sword grazed. At one time he observed an 
Indian from behind a tree very near him raise his rifle to shoot him ; 
he sprang forward, knocked the gun from his grasp, and plunged 
the point of his* sword through his neck, when he fell lifeless. The 
Captain supposed from the situation of the Indian that he had been 
previously wounded. 

On the 13th of August, Miss Hunt, then only fifteen years old, 
was married to Capt. Snelling by the Chaplain of Gen. Hull's army. 
General Hull and several other officers were present, with a few 
ladies. The ceremony had been performed but a few moments 
when the drum beat to arms ; and Capt. Snelling instantly started 
up to go in search of his sword. All rushed to the door except 
14 



314: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Gen. Hull, who laying his hand on the young officer's shoulder as 
he was about leaving the house, said, " Snelling, you need not go, I 
will excuse you." " By no means," was the reply, " I feel more like 
doing my duty now than ever." " Stay, it is a false alarm by my 
order," said the General. 

About this time, Gen. Brock reached Maiden with reinforcements, 
and immediately planted batteries opposite the fort of Detroit. 
From Col. Hunt's house the family could distinctly see the men at 
work, by the aid of a spy glass. Then were seen two British officers 
with a white flag of truce, crossing at the ferry ; they were met at 
the wharf and blindfolded, and were conducted to the first house, 
which happened to be that of Col. Hunt. The youthful bride saw 
them enter the parlor with Gen. Hull, his aid, who was his son, and 
some others ; and the door was locked. They demanded, in the 
name of Gen. Brock, a surrender, stating that he should otherwise 
be unable to restrain the fury of the savages, but were answered by 
a spirited refusal. The British officers returned to the boat in the 
same manner, and presently the firing commenced from their bat- 
teries, and continued without much effect until the next morning. 

About this time Michilimackinac was captured, and Lieut. Hanks, 
who commanded, was sent on parole to Detroit ; his wife being with 
him. His command consisted of but fifty men, the enemy numbered 
over one thousand, including Indians ; and Lieut. Hanks had received 
no information of the declaration of war ! Being on parole, he was of 
course bound to remain neutral, and it happened that he was in a 
room with some others, when a shell from the enemy passed into 
the room, scattering death and destruction. Mrs. Hanks was with 
the other ladies in an adjoining room, where all were employed in 
making flannel bags to put powder in for the cannon. When they 
heard the report and the groans, all rushed to the door, for it was 
but a narrow entry that divided the two rooms. Mrs. Hanks was 
in advance, when the door was opened by one of the wounded, and 
Lieut. Hanks was seen with his bowels torn open and dreadfully dis- 
figured. A blanket was immediately thrown over him by one who 
came in. Three others had been badly wounded and two killed by 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 315 

that single bomb-shell. Mrs. Hanks saw at a glance the condition 
of her husband, and that there was no hope of life, and for a time 
she was bereft of reason. 

It having been reported by some Frenchmen, that the British 
were preparing to cross the river opposite Spring Wells, Capt. Snel- 
ling was sent to watch their movements and report. He left 
Detroit about nine o'clock in the evening, with a detachment of men > 
and returning next morning before daylight, he reported to the 
General that from appearances, they would cross the river at that 
point, three miles from Detroit, that morning. The alarm of Gen. 
Hull now became extreme, and his appearance that morning was 
pitiable. The balls were flying very fast over the fort, and several 
men were killed ; the chimney of the room in which the ladies were 
at work, was struck and fell with some of the roof into the apart- 
ment. The ladies were then advised to go into an empty bomb- 
proof magazine for safety, and took Mrs. Hanks with them, she being 
quite frantic. In passing the parade ground several shells burst over 
them, but they escaped injury, and reaching the magazine found it 
filled with women and children from the town ; some fainting, and 
some in convulsions with fear. The picture of woe was complete 
when Mrs. Hanks was placed among the sufferers. Presently, Mrs. 
Snelling heard herself called by name, and going to the door, found 
it was her husband. He said, " My dear wife, I know not what 
moment I may be shot down ; I have come to say farewell, and ask 
you to make me a promise, that in case I fall you will never marry 
an Englishman" His weeping bride assented without being able 
to speak, and they parted. 

While the British were crossing the river, Gen. Hull was entreated 
by the officers to prevent their landing, which they insisted could be 
done ; at least, they might sink every other boat ; but he would not 
allow a gun to be fired. The field officers, suspecting he intended 
to surrender, determined on his arrest ; this, however, was prevented, 
in consequence of the absence of Colonels Cass and McArthur, who 
had been detached with four hundred men on a third expedition to 
the river Raisin. Had they been present, there is no doubt the 



316 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

project would have been carried into effect. On that morning Gen. 
Miller was very ill of chill and fever. 

The morning of the 16th (three days after the marriage of our fair 
friend) the British landed at Spring Wells, and marched up in solid 
column along the river bank. The American troops now eagerly 
waited for orders ; they were strongly fortified, and cannon loaded 
with grape stood on a commanding eminence, ready to sweep the 
advancing columns. At this crisis, what was their mortification and 
disappointment, when orders were given them to retire within the 
fort ! When there, Capt. Snelling saw Gen. Hull's aid trying to 
plant a white flag : " Snelling," said he, " come and help me fix this 
flag," " No, sir ; I will not soil my hands with that flag," was the 
indignant answer. 

Gen Hull, panic-stricken, surrendered the fortress without even 
stipulating the terms ; even Colonels Cass and McArthur's detach- 
ment was included. Language cannot adequately describe or ex- 
press the emotions that filled the hearts of those brave soldiers, as 
they stacked their arms to be conveyed away by the British soldiers. 
Mrs. Snelling now returned to her brother's house, and for the first 
time saw Tecumseh. He was a noble looking warrior, on horseback 

O ' 

at the head of his band of Indians, who had fired off their guns 
before they were permitted to enter the town ; they passed by the 
door in good order, being evidently under restraint ; but how long 
would it last! It was felt to be a relief when Capt. Snelling in- 
formed his wife the vessels were in sight in which all the prisoners 
were to embark. Col. H. 1. Hunt was permitted to remain on 
parole, Detroit being his home, and John E. Hunt stayed with him ; 
but Thomas, afterwards a captain in the army, and the broth er-in- 
law, Maj. Edwards, accompanied the prisoners. They were put on 
board the Queen Charlotte, where they found Gen. Hull and staff, 
with several other officers and their wives. They were very much 
crowded, the state-rooms being occupied by the General and his staff, 
while the rest made pallets on the cabin floor. It may be supposed 
that no one slept much that night. Gen. Hull's conduct was freely 
discussed within his hearing ; and bitter, bitter indeed, were the feel- 



ABIOAIL SNELLING. 317 

ings expressed against him. The next day, much to the satisfaction 
of Mrs. Snelling, her party, with others, was put on board the vessel 
commanded by Captain Mackintosh, at his request. He gave her 
up his own stateroom, and handed her the key of the box that con- 
tained his preserves and other niceties. He told the prisoners that 
if the army had marched to Maiden at the time they crossed the 
v iver, that post would have been taken without the cost of a life. 

When they arrived at Erie, the ^British guards took charge of 
the captive troops, and each American captain was placed at the 
head of his company, surrounded by a British guard, and marched 
to Fort George, eighteen miles, where vessels were in readiness to 
proceed to Kingston. Gen. Hull and his staff were placed in car- 
nages. Mackintosh promised Capt. Snelling he would place his 
young wife in the hands of a friend, who would see that she had 
a conveyance to join him. at Fort George. He did so, but was 
obliged to return to his vessel ; however, Mr. Warren promised to 
send her the same afternoon. Soon after she was joined by the 
wife of Capt. Fuller, of the 4th regiment. When Capt. Snelling 
then bade a brief adieu to his%wife, " You may have need of money," 
said he, and gave her a half eagle. 

With much impatience the ladies waited for Mr. Warren to 
make his appearance with a carriage. When tea was ready he 
came, but said all the carriages in the place were gone, and he could 
furnish nothing better than a lumber wagon. They eagerly ex- 
claimed, " That will do, let us have it !" " But you must not go 
on to-night, it is too late," he persisted ; " the roads are filled with 
straggling Indians ; it will not do it would be rashness to venture. 
I will have everything ready by daylight to-morrow morning." The 
ladies remonstrated against delay. " They have all gone ; the 
troops will embark, and sail without us, and we shall be left be- 
hind." "Oh, no!" replied Warren; "unless the wind changes 
they cannot leave." 

His involuntary guests passed a sleepless night in his house. 
They were up two hours before daylight, and endeavored in vari- 
ous ways to rouse their host, but in vain. Day dawned ; they 



318 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

opened the window, to see if the wind had changed ; it blew from 
the same direction, and they were more calm. When the sun rose, 
they went to Mr. Warren immediately, and begged the fulfilment 
of his promise. He went out, and expecting him back every 
moment, they got their luggage ready in the hall, every moment 
seeming an age. At length, a negro man drove up to the door 
about nine o'clock, in a large lumber wagon ; their hearts sank 
within them, for they had supposed that Mr. Warren would accom- 
pany them. The man came into the hall, and asked, " Is this the 
luggage ? Heavy load ! take all day to get there !" " And is not 
Mr. Warren going with us ?" " No, marm ; cannot go ; told me to 
go." Thus the wedding tour of our fair bride promised to be an 
adventurous one ! Their fears were divided between the negro 
man and the Indians who were straggling on the roads. They had 
a great deal of baggage, and were completely in the power of the 
driver. Mrs. Snelling said to him imploringly, " If you will make 
haste, and take us safely through, I will give you this gold piece, 
and our husbands, who are both Captains in the American army, 
will pay you well besides." The man answered that he would do 
his best. 

When he stopped to water the horses at a tavern, there were a 
number of Indians about the house, and the ladies begged the 
driver not to let them know they were prisoners. They remained 
in the wagon while he went for water, watching him narrowly 
however, and not suffering him to delay a moment. When he re- 
sumed his seat, they breathed more freely. At noon some crackers 
and cheese were purchased, and they prevailed upon the driver to 
be satisfied with it for his dinner. Often they met three or four 
Indians, who sometimes stopped the driver to talk to him, and 
were inquisitive to know who the women were, what was in the 
trunks, &c., &c. During such times, although the prisoners trem- 
bled in every nerve, they appeared in a very merry mood, signify- 
ing to them and the driver that they were in a hurry. He cracked 
his whip, and as they went on, leaving the Indians behind, they set 
up a frightful yell, enough to chill the blood with fear. 



ABIGAIL SWELLING. 319 

As they drew near Fort George, they became still more anxious 
for as nearly as they could judge the wind had changed, or was 
changing. It was late in the afternoon, and still they had some 
distance to go. Within a few miles of the fort, they met a foot 
traveller from there, who told them all the vessels had gone ex- 
cept one. In that one Capt. Snelling and Capt. Fuller were 
pacing the deck, sometimes looking with eagerness towards the 
shore, then beseeching the Captain of the sloop, who was a kind- 
hearted man, to delay only a little longer, notwithstanding orders 
had been sent him to proceed. Just as the words, " I can wait no 
longer, I must obey orders," passed his lips, handkerchiefs were 
seen waving from the shore ; a boat was sent, and the travellers 
were soon in their husbands' arms. Even the rough but kind- 
hearted sailor witnessing the scene, wiped his eyes ; and as the good 
Captain approached, the tears rolled down his cheeks. It was a 
joyous, though a tearful meeting. 

The next thought was for the baggage. Where was it ? It had 
been left in the lumber wagon, for no one had bestowed a 
thought upon it, and the vessel was already miles from shore. The 
negro probably carried it home as a prize, for the owners never 
heard of it again, though for some time they entertained a hope 
that the trunks would be forwarded to them. The Captain seemed 
to take quite an interest in Mrs. Snelling, having learned 'she was a 
bride of but two weeks, and so young ; and his kind feeling was 
manifested by giving up to her his own stateroom, and sometimes 
sending nice things from his table to her. Such kindness, at 
such a time, was sensibly felt and appreciated. Capt. Snelling told 
his wife he had a little difficulty while on the march with one of 
the British officers who was with the guard. It was a very warm 
day, and almost choked with dust and thirst, he stepped on the 
grass, a very short distance from where he was marching, when the 
officer rudely pushed him back. Pale with rage, " Sir," said Snel- 
ling, " had I my sword by my side, you would not thus dare to lay 
hands upon me. I trust the day may come when I shall be able to 
show you how a gentleman ought to behave under similar circum- 
14* 



320 .PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

stances." It was not a little singular that this same officer was after- 
wards taken prisoner by the Americans, and fell into the hands of 
Capt. Snelling, to be conducted to Fort Erie. He was a married 
man, and expected to have been detained a long time from his 
family. But his generous foe, then Inspector-General, used his in- 
fluence to effect his exchange. They parted with expressions of 
sincere friendship. 

The stay of the prisoners at Kingston was only sufficiently long to 
remove them from the vessels to the large barges or batteaux which 
were in readiness for the descent of the St. Lawrence. The lot of 
our party fell again to the same boat in which were Gen. Hull and 
staff. The journey was without much incident. At night they 
stopped at some small village, where lodging in bed-rooms could not 
be had for all who applied ; and several times the high-spirited 
Capt. Snelling would rebel and give expression to his feelings, 
when a room for which he had spoken, would be given to a British 
officer. 

On arriving at St. John's, four or five miles from Montreal, 
the prisoners were ordered to be arranged by companies, with 
their officers, and marched under guard to the city. Gen. Hull 
and staff, with an escort of British officers, went in carriages ; the 
officers' ladies two and two in gigs, and then the troops in the 
rear, with a guard on each side, completed the procession. When 
they reached the city, a full band of music went in advance of Gen. 
Hull's carriage, and began to play Yankee Doodle. The General 
having said in his proclamation " I will go through Montreal with 
Yankee Doodle," they were determined to make good his promise. 

It was evening, and the streets were illuminated, every window in 
every house being filled with lights, and when the procession came 
opposite Nelson's Monument, there were cheers given, and a cry 
" hats off!" An attempt was made to compel all to the act of 
reverence, by knocking off the prisoners' hats or caps. A militi;i 
officer tried it with Capt. Snelling, " At your peril, Sir, touch rno ;" 
was the quick warning, and before he could do anything rash, a, 
regular officer rode up and rebuked the militia officer. At this 



ABIGAIL SPELLING. 

moment a lady made her way through the crowd and guard 
towards the prisoners, and fell, overcome by emotion. She was 
lifted up, and the Captain recognized Mrs. Goodiug. His party 
was conducted to a hotel, where they met Capt. Gooding also. 

During tho evening, after they had taken possession of their room, 
a tap was heard at the door, and a servant brought in a tray, on 
which were glasses and a decanter of wine, placed it on the table, 
and said " Capt. F will be here to see you, Capt. Snelling." 
He entered soon after, and Capt. Snelling saw in him the gentle- 
man who had insisted on knocking off his cap ; he came to apolo- 
gize for his conduct, and requested permission to drink a glass of 
wine with him. In a few days the married officers were paroled, 
and left Montreal on their way to Boston. Here Captain and Mrs. 
Snelling remained until he was exchanged, at which time he was 
ordered to Plattsburg to join Gen. Hampton's army. The admi- 
rable wife, who had shared his dangers, remained in Boston. The 
separation lasted some months, when unexpectedly the Captain 
made his appearance, informing Mrs. Snelling that he was going to 
Washington city, having an extremely unpleasant duty to perform, 
that of taking a man into custody that very night while in bed, one 
of a party who supplied the enemy with provisions, and must be 
taken to Washington. He left his wife about twelve o'clock at 
night, saying he should have assistance, and she must not be 
uneasy, for that if he succeeded in securing the man, he would stop 
in the carriage and let her know of his safety. In two hours he 
returned, told her they had succeeded, and that the prisoner was in 
irons in the carriage, with a guard. " I pity his poor wife," added 

he, " I wish you to take a carriage to-morrow, drive to No. , 

Water Street, ask for the lady of the house, and say to her that her 
husband will be in Washington, for a few days, and then return to 
her in safety." In two weeks Capt. Snelling came back ; the man 
had turned States' evidence against others, and had been dismissed. 

About this time Mrs. Snelling's eldest child was born she being 
only sixteen years of age. Her little daughter Mary beguiled many 
an anxious hour of separation from her father ; that father being in 



322 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

constant peril. He passed through many dangers while in Platts- 
burg and its vicinity, and rose rapidly in rank, Generals Izard and 
Macomb being in command. Mrs. Snelling joined him there. Be- 
fore long Gen. Izard's division was ordered to Fort Erie, 'and Capt. 
Snelling belonged to that division. His wife remained in Burling- 
ton, on the other side of Lake Champlain, and was there when 
Commodore McDonough gained his victory, hearing distinctly the 
roar of the artillery, and relieved beyond measure when the news 
came of the victory. It was shouted from mouth to mouth, and 
from door to door, " Victory ! Victory !" 

The details of the siege of Fort Erie may be found in historical 
works. At this time Snelling was in the staff of Gen. Izard, and 
was Inspector-general, with the rank of Colonel. Gen. Brown com- 
manded at Fort Erie. When the troops went into winter quarters 
at Buffalo, Mrs. Snelling again joined him at Buffalo with her little 
daughter. She had travelled forty-one miles on horse-back, over the 
very same corduroy roads she had been carried over eighteen years 
before. Her brother, Capt. Hunt, met her at Batavia and carried 
little Mary on a pillow before him ; she had been very ill, and the 
journey restored her to health. 

After peace was proclaimed, Col. Snelling and his family, accompa- 
nied by his wife's brother, left Buffalo to visit friends in Detroit. 
They embarked in a small vessel with a favorable wind, but the next 
day there were indications of a storm ; the wind veered round and they 
beat about the lake several days. When the storm began to rage 
with fury, there were no safe harbors near, and they made but little 
progress and were out of provisions and fuel. A few potatoes were 
found, but no fire to cook them. Mrs. Snelling was very sea-sick, 
and did not require food, but her little Mary lay by her side gnaw- 
ing a raw potatoe. The storm still increased, but the captain of the 
vessel hoped to reach Cleveland with the side wind, and at daylight 
the third day they found themselves opposite that place, though 
they dared not approach the wharf. Guns of distress were fired 
but with little hope, for men could not be found to risk their own lives 
to save them. The captain then announced that his anchor dragged 



ABIGAIL SWELLING. 323 

and he feared would not hold the vessel. Soon were seen prepara- 
tions to man a boat ; it pushed off from shore and approached the 
shoals ; then was the greatest danger ; it passed over and reached 
the vessel. Capt. Hunt came to his sister and said, " Abby, what 
will you do ; remain here in so much peril, or go in the boat, where 
there is perhaps greater?" She replied, "I will go." She was 
taken upon deck ; the waves were terrific ; the boat would now rise 
on the summit of a huge billow, now plunge into a deep abyss, and 
it seemed impossible that the lady and her child could be placed in 
the boat. But in spite of peril, she hardly knew how, she was 
seated in the boat with her child and her brother, and after a few 
minutes gained courage to look back towards the vessel, of which 
she could only see the top of the mast. At the moment they 
reached the shoals, a huge wave broke over them and half filled the 
boat. Some of the men bailed while others plied the oars with re- 
newed energy. When they touched land Mrs. Snelling was taken 
feinting from the boat and conveyed to an inn ; and it was several 
days before she recovered from the terrors of that storm. 

Great was the joy that prevailed in the heart of every wife at the 
return of peace. In the following spring, Snelling under the peace 
organization, was Lieut. Colonel of the 6th infantry, and ordered to 
Governor's Island. Col. Atkinson commanding. He remained there 

/ o 

with his family over a year, when the regiment was ordered to 
Plattsburg, where they had resided about four years when an order 
cams for St. Louis, en route for the Upper Mississippi or Missouri ! 
Mrs. Snelling had then three children, and her youngest sister and 
one of her brothers, a graduate from West Point Lieut. Welling- 
ton Hunt, then a married man were with her family. 

The troops went up to the barracks at Bellefountain, where she 
visited the graves of her parents, finding them in good order with 
the exception of the railing which enclosed the mounds. Her 
youngest child, fifteen months old, was then very ill ; he had been 
named Thomas, after his grandfather. He died and was buried beside 
his brave ancestor. During the winter of their stay there, the sis- 



324 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ter, Eliza M. Hunt, was married to Mr. Soulard, a French gentleman 
of great worth. 

In the following summer, Snelling was promoted Colonel of the 
5th regiment, and ordered up the Mississippi, to relieve Lieut. Colo 
nel Leaven worth $ who was also promoted to another regiment. He 
had conducted the 5th regiment from Detroit to within eight miles 
of the Falls of St. Anthony. The journey was exceedingly tedious 
and disagreeable, in a keel boat laboriously propelled by men with 

ng poles, placed against their shoulders, along a gangway on each 
side of the boat. The weather was very warm and the musquitoes 
numerous day and night. The cabin was very low, confined, and 
uncomfortable. It was three weeks or more before they arrived at 
Prairie du Chien, during which time very little sound sleep was 
obtained by the young mother, from fear of the Indians, the Sac and 
Fox, the most savage looking and ferocious she had ever seen. 
They seemed to be very fond of dress, and their faces were painted 
of all colors ; the hair cut close to within an inch of the top of the 
head, and that decorated with a variety of ribbons and feathers, and 
often a small looking-glass suspended from the neck. Many of 
them were certainly great beaux, but they looked hideous, and 
were terrific objects to a timid woman. 

When the voyagers arrived at Prairie du Chien, they found Gov. 
Cass and his party ; he held councils with the Indians, for the pur- 
pose of bringing about a peace between the Sac and Fox tribes, Chip- 
pewas and Sioux. Our friends were detained there several weeks by 
a court-martial, of which Col. Snelling was President. They had 
still three hundred miles to go before they reached the encampment 
of the 5th regiment, and there were several Indian villages on the 
route. The magnificent scenery of this river has been often described. 
Lake Pepin is a beautiful expansion about twenty-four miles in length, 
and from two to four broad. At length they arrived safe through 
many fatigues to the end of their journey, and received a hearty 
welcome from friends they had never seen before, and from Capt. 
Gooding and his wife, whom they were again delighted to meet 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 325 

Their daughter had been married a few days previous to the Adju- 
tant of the regiment. 

o 

Great solicitude was felt to have a temporary garrison erected 
with such defences as could be then made, before the long and 
severe winter set in. The traders brought news that the Indians 
wer*> very insolent, and it was said a white man had been killed on 
the St. Peter's river. A council was called and the murderers were 
demanded, hostages being taken from the council until they were 
delivered. They were confined in the guard room, and narrowly 
watched. All felt that the little community was exposed and almost 
at the mercy of an enemy, and great exertions were made to com- 
plete the temporary barracks for the winter with blockhouses and 
other defences. Indians meanwhile were collecting in great numbers, 
and would sometimes show themselves at a distance. The traders 
in the vicinity often came in, and said the friendly Indians had gone 
in pursuit of the murderers, and no doubt would succeed in taking 
them ; but if they did not, the friends of the hostages would attempt 
to rescue them. Scouts were accordingly kept out every night, and 
the troops slept on their arms. For the mother trembling for her 
little ones more than herself, no sooner would she close her eyes 
at night, than she would start, thinking she heard the war whoop 
of the savages. The wolves too, half-starved, were extremely dar- 
ing, and if the cook happened to leave a bucket of swill at the back 
door, they were sure to empty it of its contents. 

As soon as the log barracks were finished, the families moved into 
them. They were built in four rows forming a square, a block- 
house on either side ; and situated where the village of Mendota 
now stands. The Indian hostages were now put in greater secu- 
rity.' They were evidently becoming impatient of restraint, and 
perhaps had doubts as to the result. One morning as usual, they 
were taken a short distance into the woods under guard, when sud- 
denly one of them (there were three) started and ran for his life. 
Those behind set up a yell and the guard fired at him, but he was 
beyond reach. The others were immediately taken back to the 
guard-house, and an interpreter sent for, who enquired of them if it 



326 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

was a preconcerted plan of the whole ; they declared it was not, and 
that until the fugitive started to run, they were ignorant of his de- 
sign, and supposed it merely a sudden desire for freedom. They 
said further that he would no doubt urge the immediate surrender 
of the guilty parties, and laughingly said the lad was so fat, from 
being so well fed, they were surprised to see him run so fast ! 

Col. Snelling and the Indian agent thought it advisable to send 
the murderers to the agent at St. Louis, as soon as they should be 
brought in and before navigation closed. At length they came, 
conducted by a large number of their own tribe. There were two, 
but only one was sent to St. Louis, as there was but one white man 
killed. It was represented to the Indians in council, that when one 
white man killed another, his life paid the penalty ; and since one 
of their people had killed a white man his life must pay the forfeit, 
unless their great father in Washington should pardon him. The 
savages signified assent by a " ugh !" As soon as the criminal was 
gone quiet was restored among the Indians for the winter. 

In September, 1819, Mrs. Snelling's fifth child was born. Her sick 
room was papered and carpeted with buffalo robes, and made quite 
warm and comfortable. There were three ladies besides her in the 
garrison, and they were like one* family, spending their time in- 
structing their children, and receiving instruction in the French 
language from a soldier who it was said had been an officer in 
Buonaparte's army. Mrs. Snelling, Mrs. Clark and an officer, com- 
prised the class. During the winter, parties of men were sent off to 
cut down trees, hew timber, &c., for the permanent fort, which was 
to be built on the high point of land between the mouth of the St. 
Peter's and Mississippi, a point selected by Gen. Pike when he 
explored the river, as a good site for a fort, and on which Col. 
Snelling at once decided it should be built. There was a tree 
standing at the extreme point, with the name of Pike carved on it 
by his own hand. Strict orders were given " to spare that tree ;" 
for it was looked upon by the officers as sacred to his memory, and 
was carefully guarded, but the care was in vain. One 'morning it 
was found cut down, and great was the lamentation. It never was 



. 

ABIGAIL SSTELLING. 327 

Known who had done the deed ; there was a mystery about it that 
Jvas never solved. 

The first row of barracks that were put up, were of hewn logs, the 
others of stone. The fort was built in a diamond shape, to suit the 
ground at the extreme point. Where the tree had stood, was a 
half-moon battery, and inside this was the officers' quarters, a very 
neat stone building, the front of cut stone ; at the opposite point a 
tower. The fort was enclosed by a high stone wall, and is well 
represented in the drawings of it. 

At the expiration of two years, the regiment moved into the fort, 
although not completed. The families of the officers occupied 
quarters in the row assigned to them. It was just before this time 
that Mrs. Snelling lost her youngest child thirteen months old. 
In June, 1823, the first steamboat made its appearance at the fort, 
much to the astonishment of the savages, who placed their hands 
over their mouths their usual way of expressing astonishment, and 
called it a " fire-boat." A salute was fired from the fort, as it was 
expected that the Inspector general was on board ; and it was 
returned from the boat. The Indians knew not what to make of it, 
and they were greatly alarmed, until all was explained. Additions 
were made to the society of the garrison ; several officers, who had 
been absent, returned to their regiment, bringing wives and sisters, 
so that at one time the company numbered ten ladies. There were 
six companies, which fully officered, would have given eighteen or 
twenty officers, but there were seldom or never that number present 
at one time. An Italian gentleman came on the boat, who pro- 
fessed to be travelling for the purpose of writing a book, and 
brought letters of introduction from Mrs. Snelling's friends in St. 
Louis. The Colonel invited him to his house to remain as lono- as 

o 

he pleased, and he was with them several months. He could not 
speak English, but spoke French fluently, and seemed much pleased 
when he found his fair hostess could speak the language, she having 
learned it when a child at St. Louis. A French school was the first 
she ever attended, and she thus early acquired a perfectly correct 
pronunciation. She lamented on one occasion to Mr. Beltrami, that 



328 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE \VE 9T . 

her teacher had received his discharge, and was about leaving, and 
he politely offered his services in- that capacity. She was then 
translating the life of Csesar in an abridged form, and from the emo- 
tion betrayed by the foreigner at a portion of the reading, it was 
concluded he had been banished frorn^ the Pope's dominions at 
Rome, and that the lesson reminded him of his misfortunes. The 
passport he showed, gave him the title of " Le Chevalier Count 
Beltrami." 

About this time, Major Long's expedition arrived, to explore the 
St. Peter's river, and when they left Beltrami accompanied them. 
When his book was published at New Orleans, he sent Mrs. Snelling 
a copy. While at the fort he was busy in collecting Indian curiosi- 
ties. One day he brought a Sioux chief into Mrs. Snelling's room, 
who had on his neck a necklace of bears' claws highly polished, 
saying, " I cannot tempt this chief to part with his necklace, pray 
see what you can do with him, he will not refuse you." " He 
wears it," answered the lady, " as a trophy of his prowess, and a 
badge of honor ; however, I will try." After some time, Wanata 
said, " On one condition I will consent; if you will cutoff your hair, 
braid it, and let it take the place of mine you may have the neck- 
lace." All laughed heartily at his contrivance to get rid of further 
importunity. 

One day a call was heard from a sentinel on the river bank, to 
the corporal of the guard, that a child had fallen into the river, 
and several ran in the direction the sentinel pointed. The gardener 
who was at work at a short distance, cried out, " It is the Colonel's 
son, Henry ! Save him !" His mother heard the cry, " A child is 
drowning !" and ran out upon the battery to see and heaK what 
was the matter. She saw them draw the boy out, place him on a 
blanket, and hasten up the hill ; they approached her house, when 
the Colonel hastened towards her saying, " We came near losing 
our child !" and she saw it was indeed her own. He was pale as 
death, but soon recovered, and lives to tell the story of an immense 
catfish dragging him into the river while fishing. 

In 1823, news was brought by the traders that two white chil- 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 329 

dren were with a party of Sioux, on the St. Peter's. It appeared 
from what they could learn, that a family from Red River Selkirk's 
settlement had been on their way to the Fort, when a war party 
of Sioux met them, murdered the parents and an infant, and made 
the boys prisoner. Col. Snelling sent an officer with a party of sol- 
diers to rescue the children. After some delay in the ransom, they 
were finally brought. An old squaw, who had the youngest, was 
very unwilling to give him up, and indeed the child did not wish 
to leave her. The oldest, about eight years old, said his name was 
John Tully, and his brother, five years old, Abraham. His mother 
had an infant, but he saw the Indians dash its brains out against a 
tree, then kill his father and mother. Because he cried, they took 
him by his hair, and cut a small piece from his head, which was a 
running sore when he was re-taken. Col. Snelling took John 
into his family, Major Clark the other, but he was afterwards sent 
to an orphan asylum in New York. The eldest died of lockjaw, 
occasioned by a cut in the ankle while using an axe. His death- 
bed conversion was affecting and remarkable. One day, after he 
had been ill several weeks, he said, " Mrs. Snelling, I have been a 
very wicked boy ; I once tried to poison my father because he said 
he would whip me. I stole a ring from you, which you valued 
much, and sold it to a soldier, and then I told you a lie about it. I 
have given you a great deal of trouble. I have bgen very wicked. 
I am going to die the day after to-morrow, and don't know where I 
shall go. Oh, pray for me." 

His benefactress answered, " John, God will forgive you, if you 
repent ; but you must pray, too, for yourself. God is more willing 
to hear than we are to pray. Christ died to save just such a sinner 
as you are, and you must call upon that Saviour to save you." All 
his sins appeared to rise before him as he confessed them, and he 
seemed to feel that he was too great a sinner to hope for pardon. 
Mrs. Snelling read to him, and instructed him. He never had re- 
ceived any religious instruction, except in the Sunday school taught 
by Mi's. Clark and herself, and being accustomed to say his prayers 
with her children, and always to be present when she read the 



330 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

church service on Sundays. The next morning after the above con- 
versation, when she asked him how he had rested during the night, 
he said, " I prayed very often in the night ; I shall die to-morrow, 
and I know not what will become of me." For several hours he 
remained tranquil, with his eyes closed, but would answer whenever 
spoken to ; then suddenly he exclaimed, " Glory ! glory P His 
friend said, " John, what do you mean by that word ?" " Oh ! 
Mrs. Snelling, I feel so good I feel so good ! Oh ! I cannot tell 
you how good I feel." She knew not that he ever heard that word 
unless from her prayer-book. He lost all consciousness on the day 
he said he should die, and expired at the succeeding dawn. 

During this year the commandant was visited by Gen. Scott anc. 
suite, and the fort was completed. Heretofore it had been called 
Fort St. Anthony, but Gen. Scott issued an order giving it the name 
of Fort Snelling. He expressed his approbation of the construction 
and site of the fort, etc., spent a week with his friends, and visited 
the falls and a chain of lakes where they were used to amuse them- 
selves fishing, and where the water was so clear they could see the 
fish playing about the hook. One of the lakes Mrs. Snelling named 
Scott Lake. 

Another of her amusements was riding on horseback. When a 
child she had been accustomed to ride every morning with her 
father, and acquired great confidence in the management of a horse. 
Her husband seldom would ride with her, but Capt. Martin Scott 
was in the regiment, and often accompanied her. One day they 
saw a wolf; the dogs gave chase, and they followed until they ran 
down the poor creature, the bonnet of the fair huntress having 
fallen back, and her hair streaming loose in the wind. 

In 1825, the family left Fort Snelling to visit their friends in 
Detroit. It was late in the season, October, before they set out 
homeward, by the way of Green Bay, where Mrs. Snelling's brother, 
Lieut. Wellington Hunt, was stationed. They spent a week in his 
family, and when they reached Lake Pepin the ice was running so 
rapidly they were compelled to stop ; the ice had cut through the 
cabin so that it leaked. A small log cabin was put up, and an 



ABIGAIL SPELLING. 331 

express sent to the fort, one hundred miles, for sleighs to convey 
them thither, and provisions, as they had nothing but corn, which 
they boiled in ash-water with a little salt. Fears were entertained 
by Coh Snelling that the express might not reach the fort, and 
another was sent a week after. One day, after two weeks, there was 
' a sound of sleigh bells, and Henry, who was the first to hear, ran to 
meet them, and soon returned with two loaves of bread, which he 
threw into his mother's lap, crying, " eat, mother, eat." The child- 
ren ate bread as if famished, and even the little Marion, but eight 
months old, partook of the general joy. They had seen no Indians, 
who had all gone to their winter grounds. Some of the officers 
came to meet the Colonel's family, and they were soon on the move 
again. They were welcomed back joyfully by all their friends, and 
many of their favorite Indians came to see them. One poor savage, 
who always furnished them with game, came leaning on his staff, look- 
ing pale and emaciated ; he was very sick, he said, and came to see 
them once more before he died. He could scarcely crawl back to his 
lodge, and the next day expired. 

At this time a party of the Chippewas and Sioux held a council with 
the Indian agent. There had been war between the two nations for 
a long time ; the agent desired to act as mediator between them, and 
sent for them to meet him. After the council the two parties smoked 
the pipe of peace. The Chippewas killed a dog, made a feast, and 
invited the Sioux to their lodges, which were under the guns of the 
fort. In the evening, about nine o'clock, the firing of guns was 
heard ; the sentinel called " corporal of the guard" repeatedly, in 
quick succession. The wild cries of women and children were heard, 
for the Chippewas had their families with them, and several Indians 
came rushing into the hall of the commanding officer, trying to tell 
what was the matter. The officer of the day reported that the 
Sioux, after partaking of the hospitalities of the Chippewas, and 
being apparently good friends, had some of them returned, placed 
their guns under the wigwams, and fired, killing some and wound- 
ing others. The wounded were conveyed into the hospital to have 
their wounds dressed. Other particulars of this occurrence, with 



332 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the determination of the Chippewas to have vengeance, the action 
of the commanding officer, and the surrender and punishment of 
the perpetrators of the deed, are related in another memoir. The 
traders said the Sioux were perfectly satisfied, much more so than 
if the offenders had been imprisoned and sent to St. Louis. 

In 1826, Capt. Thomas Hunt, who was residing at Washington, 
wrote to his sister, urging her and the Colonel to send their two 
eldest children to him to be educated. Their daughter Mary was 
now fourteen, and as Capt. Plympton and his wife were going, her 
parents got her in readiness to accompany them. Her mother 
thought not it would cost so many tears to part with her child ; 
but when she returned home from the boat, she told Mrs. Clark it 
" seemed like a death in the family." Soon an opportunity offered, 
and they sent Henry also. 

In 1827 the Indians began to show signs of hostility near Prairie 
du Chi en ; they murdered two white men and a young girl, the 
daughter of one of them, and attacked two boats with supplies for 
Fort Snelling, killing and wounding several of the crew. Col. Snel- 
ling ordered out as many of his command as could be spared from 
the fort, and with his officers descended the river to the relief of 
Fort Crawford, or to attack any hostile force of Indians he might 
meet. There were two large villages of Indians between the two 
forts, and it was expected, when they approached, they would be 
attacked, but there was not an Indian to be seen. When they 
reached Prairie du Chien, they ascertained that the outrage had 
been committed by Winnebagoes and not Sioux. When Gen. Atkin- 
son heard this at St. Louis, he sent and seized the chief, Red Bird, 
and one or two others, who were tried, convicted, and executed. 
After an absence of six weeks, the party returned without being 
obliged to fire a gun. 

One day soon after his return, the Colonel came in to tell his wife 
the express had brought them a mail, holding in his hand a letter 
sealed with black. She exclaimed, " My Mary is dead." " No," 
said her husband, " the letter is from Detroit." It brought the intel- 
ligence of her much loved brother Henry's death. He was much 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 333 

loved and respected by all who knew him ; was major of the city 
and colonel of the militia, arid his funeral was the largest ever known 
in Michigan. After the massacre at Frenchtown by the Indians, 
in 1813, he had spent a great deal of money in ransoming prisoners, 
many of whom still affectionately cherish his memory. He had 
proved a father to his sister and family ,^and was mourned' by them 
deeply and long. 

In the fall of 1827, the regiment was ordered to Jefferson Bar- 
racks. When the family arrived at St. Louis, they took lodgings 
for the winter, Colonel Sn el ling having obtained leave to go to 
Washington to settle some public accounts and to bring home his 
daughter. He wrote to her mother in glowing terms of her 
improvement in person and mind, and that she received much 
attention for one of her age, not yet sixteen. " As Mary will not 
again," he concluded, " have so good an opportunity, I have encou- 
raged her to accept invitations to the different soirees ;. she has had 
cards for the season from all." Mary wrote, " I have attended many 
parties, but I do not enjoy them, for my dear mother is not with me, 
and I am so impatient to embrace her." Alas ! the All Wise Dis- 
poser of events had ordered it otherwise. One more letter her 
mother received from her, and hoped before many weeks to see 
her, but at the time she was expecting her arrival, a letter was 
written to her sister, Mrs. Soulard, that Mary was dead ! 

Col. Snelling wrote afterwards, that on the 2d of February she 
had been at Mrs. Clay's party and danced, and had taken cold 
while standing to wait for the carriage ; the cold terminating in a 
brain fever. Mrs. Adams, the wife of the President, showed great 
interest in the young stranger, as did mciny others, and every atten- 
tion was paid her that could be desired ; but there was no solace for 
the deep wound in the mother's heart. Sh^ had felt a presentiment 
that she should never more see her daughter, and was in some mea- 
sure prepared for the stroke which almost crushed her : she was 
enabled to look with faith to Him from whose hand it came, to feel 
that He was too wise to err too good to afflict willingly, and to 



334: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bow in humble submission to the most painful dispensation of his 
Providence. Her husband wrote that he should be obliged to 
remain still longer in Washington ; it would improve her health to 
travel, and she must join him without delay. In May she left St. 
Louis with her three children and nurse, found her husband and son 
well, the latter much grown, and received a cordial welcome from 
her brother and sister-in-law. 

Her cup of affliction was not yet full ; in two months her husband 
was seized with inflammation of the brain and died in three weeks. 
In communicating the sad event to the army, the General-in-Chief 
thought it but an act of justice to make a public acknowledgment 
of his services.* 

At this period of distress Mrs. Snelling's youngest child, Josiah, 
was not expected to live. She resigned him willingly ; but he was 
spared to her, and lived to be her great comfort. In a month she 
was on her way to Detroit. A farm three miles up the river belonged 
to her, and thither she took her children. Her brother, George 
Hunt, took charge of the farm and lived in her family. After resid- 
ing two years upon it, Mrs. Snelling found it necessary to re- 
move into the city, where she took a few boarders, and rented her 
farm. In 1835 she sold it for nine thousand dollars, purchased a 
lot in the city and built a brick house. Her son Henry, who had 
gone to New York on business, became acquainted with Miss Put- 
nam, the sister of the publisher, a lady of high literary ability and 
intelligence, and they were soon afterwards married. Capt. 
Thomas Hunt was at this time residing in Detroit. He died very 
suddenly in consequence of a fall, leaving a very interesting family. 
Gov. Mason offered Mrs. Snelling a high rent for her house, and she 
consented to let it, provided he would purchase her new furniture, 
which he did. She then accepted an invitation from her brother, 

# u Colonel Snelling joined the army i.i early youth. In the battle of Tip- 
pecanoe, he was distinguished for gallantry and good conduct. Subsequently 
and during the whole of the late war with Great Britain, from the battle of 
Brownstown to the termination of the contest, he was actively employed in 
the field, with credit to himself and honor to his country. Letter written by 
order of Major- General Macomb, dated jiugust 21st t 1828. 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 335 

Gen. Hunt, at Maumee city, to reside in his family, having now only 
her daughter Marion (afterwards Mrs. Hazard) and her youngest 
son with her. Her son James had gone to West Point. 

In 1841 Mrs. Snelling was married to the Rev. J. E. Chaplin, the 
grandson of President Edwards. He was appointed principal to one 
of the branches of the Michigan State Institution, and they removed 
to White Pigeon in Michigan, where Mr. Chaplin died in 1846, 
much beloved and lamented. For five years his wife had lived with 
him in great happiness, and she felt that he had only gone home a 
little before her. 

In 1844 her son James graduated, and was ordered to Texas in 
Gen. Worth's regiment. He was at the battle of Palo Alto and 
Reseca, in all the battles with Gen. Taylor excepting Buena Vista. 
At that time Gen. Worth's regiment was with Gen. Scott's division. 
He was at the siege of Yera Cruz and Cherubusco, at which time 
Gen. Scott mentions him in his dispatches. At Molino del Rey he was 
severely wounded ; the ball entering the left breast passed under 
his arm, and was cut out from his back. He received two brevets, 
making him passed captain. Although his father had been in eleven 
skirmishes and battles he had never lost a drop of blood, but the 
son was less fortunate, and at twenty-three nearly lost his life. It 
was six weeks after seeing his name published among those who 
were severely wounded before his mother heard from him direct, 
and during that time, her state of suspense was terrible. One day 
as she left home for a walk, she noticed the stage approaching her 
house, and as it was passing, Mr. Hazard put his head out and said, 
" You had better go back, there is some one here you would like to 
see." She turned to go back, saw the stage stop, and her son get 
out, and sank on her knees returning thanks to God that her eyes 
again beheld him. He afterwards went to Texas with his regi- 
ment. 

In 1849 Mrs. Chaplin travelled with her nephew, Major Hunt, 
and her two nieces up the Mississippi to Fort Snelling. She found 
twenty-one years had made great changes and great improvements ; 
the party went in a splendid steamboat, beautifully furnished, with 



336 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

table sumptuously supplied, and either side of the river was dotted 
with cultivated fields and large towns the transformation seemed 
almost magical. When they arrived at the Fort, she met an old 
friend in Col. Loomis, who was very polite in taking her about the 
country that she might see all she could in the short time they had 
to stay. She visited the grave of her little daughter, and could de- 
cipher the name on the stone although much defaced. The Colonel 
promised to have a new one put up. An old Indian woman recog- 
nized her, saying she had seen her a long time ago, and she was much 
delighted to find she had been remembered. She also went over 
the house so long occupied by her family. On their return they 
stopped at St. Paul's, where the governor of the territory resides, 
and there found a niece who had married Mr. Welsh of Michigan. 

One of the passengers taken in at that place, in conversation with 
one of the ladies, related the story of the murdei of the Chippewas 
by the Sioux after the treaty, and the punishment of the guilty per- 
sons, with some fanciful embellishment, by way of exemplifying the 
Indian traits of generosity and self-devotion, stating that the friend 
of one of the culprits had offered himself a voluntary victim in his 
place, the other being a married man, and that the innocent substi- 
tute had been delivered up to the Chippewas by the commanding 
officer. His strictures on the conduct of Col. Snelling were inter- 
rupted by a mild rebuke from Mrs. Chaplin, who informed him the 
account he had given of the transaction was incorrect. " You seem 
to speak knowingly on the subject, madam," said the stranger. " I 
should be happy to get the right story. " I was the wife of that 
commanding officer," she replied, " and remember well all the cir- 
cumstances ;" which she then related, and was told by the gentle- 
man that he was writing a book, " and had received the story from 
a trader." His experience in this instance might be a lesson to 
those who rely on floating traditions unsupported by competent 
authority. 

Mrs. Chaplin is now happily at home with her daughter, Mrs. 
Hazard, and resides in Cincinnati. Her life has been a chequered and 
eventful one, and many sorrows have fallen to her lot ; but these have 



ABIGAIL SNELLING. 337 

been borne with resignation and submission to the will of her 
Heavenly Father, to whose guidance she committed her youth, and 
who has blessed her with the enjoyment of the peace and prosperity 
won through a period of hardship and distress. Her family con- 
nections are numerous, and a very large circle of friends and 
acquaintances admire her talents and love her virtues. 



XIX. 

MARY MCMILLAN. 

LANMAN, the author of a pleasing History of Michigan, says it 
embraces three epochs ; the first a romantic one, extending to 17 60, 
when the dominion over the small portion of inhabited territory 
passed from France to Great Britain. "The earliest gleam of civili- 
zation at that period had scarcely penetrated its forests, and the 
boat-songs of the French fur traders, as they swept its lakes, alone 
awoke the echoes. The second epoch may be called a military one. 
It commenced with the Pontiac war, and extends through the 
struggles of the British, Indians, and Americans to obtain undis- 
puted possession of the country ; terminating with the victory of 
Commodore Perry, the defeat of Proctor, etc. The third and last 
period comprises the enterprising, mechanical, and working age of 
Michigan, commencing with the introduction of the public lands 
into market ; it is the epoch of agriculture, manufactures, and com- 
merce ; the day of harbors, cities, canals, and railroads, in which 
forests have been surveyed and cleared, streams and lakes cov- 
ered with sails, States founded, and their internal resources de- 
veloped. 

A few small settlements were made along the lakes at a very 
early period. Sault Ste. Marie, like the other French posts, had a 
fort and chapel in 1688, and was a favorite resort for traders and 



MAKY MCMILLAN. 339 

savages on their way to the forests of Lake Superior, its settlers be- 
ing a few Indians, called the Salteurs, who lived by fishing in the 
rapids. A goldsmith, who went there afterwards, wrought from 
the pure copper found in that region, bracelets, candlesticks, crosses, 
and censers, for sale among the savages. From time to time- 
Jesuit missionaries were sent from Quebec and Montreal to. these 
distant posts, but they remained without any organized colonial 
government, or any connected history, forming a part of the Cana- 
dian domain, inhabited only by wandering Indians or migrating 
traders, whose headquarters were at Montreal or Quebec. The 
vast tracts extending from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi, fer- 
tile, and watered by noble streams, with inland seas offering facili- 
ties for commerce, were thus wandered over by herds of deer, elk, 
and buffalo, or tribes as wild as the beasts of the forest. 

Baron La Hontan, who came at a very early period, says, describ- 
ing Lake Erie, " It is assuredly the finest on earth ; its banks 
decked with oak trees, elms, and chestnuts, entwined with vines 
bearing rich clusters to their tops, and its forests abounding with 
turkeys, deer, and wild beeves, frequented too by warlike hunters." 
The French scattered along the lake border, were there for the pur- 
pose of pushing the fur trade into the Indian territory, and except 
the commandants at the posts, were chiefly merchants engaged in 
this traffic. The coureurs des bois, or rangers of the woods, were 
often half-breeds, and were hardy and skilled in propelling the 
canoe, fishing, hunting, or sending a rifle-ball to the " right eye" of 
the buffalo. They procured cargoes of furs from the Indians, and 
carried large packs of goods across portages in the interior, by 
straps suspended from their foreheads or shoulders. They were 
familiar with every rock and island, bay and shoal, of the western 
waters. The ordinary dress of a Canadian furtrader, was a cloth 
fastened about the middle, a loose shirt, a " molton" .or blanket-coat, 
a red worsted or leathern cap, and sometimes a surtout of coarse 
blue cloth, and cap of the same material ; elk-skin trowsers, with 
seams adorned with fringe ; a scarlet woollen sash tied round the 
waist, in which a broad hunting-knife was stuck, and buck-skin 



340 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

moccasins. In later years they wore a shirt of striped cotton, 
trowsers of cloth or leather, leggins like the Indians, deer-skin 
moccasins, colored belt of worsted, with knife and tobacco-pouch, 
and blue woollen cap with red feather. The half-breeds were demi- 
savage, and were employed as guides or rangers, to manage the 
canoes in remote trading excursions. European goods were ex- 
changed for peltries, which were taken to the depots on the lakes, 
and thence transported eastward. The individuals who devoted 
their attention to agriculture usually wore a long surtout and sash, 
with red cap and deer-skin moccasins, while the gentlemen visiting 
the country preserved the garb in vogue in the days of Louis XIV. 
Agriculture was then limited to a few patches of corn and wheat, 
the grain being ground in wind-mills. The French soldiers, with 
their blue coats turned up with white facings, and short-clothes, and 
the priests with their long gowns and black bands, who had their 
stations near the forts, formed a strong contrast in their appearance 
to the Indians who loitered around the posts.* 

The women made coarse cotton and woollen garments for the In- 
dian traders. The amusements were chiefly dancing to the violin, 
and hunting in the forests ; to which may be added the observance 
of the festivals enjoined by the church. Fishing was a constant oc- 
cupation ; canoes passed in every direction over the streams and 
bays, and the varieties of fish now esteemed so delicious, were taken 
in great abundance, and formed a principal article of food. The 
social condition of these primitive inhabitants was not as civilized as 
in the larger colonial settlements ; the humble emigrants went out 
with their tents, their axes, their hoes, their stores of ammunition 
and provisions, and their cattle, to win a subsistence by hard labor, 
and had little regard to the amenities which are the growth of a 
settled community. The priests had much influence, and frequently 
was the lonely altar, with its rude candlesticks and censers carved 
from native copper, erected under the forest boughs, surrounded by 
savages in the wild costume of their tribes, deer or buffalo skins, 
with the cincture of the war eagle on their heads, their necklaces 

# Lamnan's History, 



MATCY MCMILLAN. 34-1 

of bear's claws, and moccasins embroidered with porcupine's quills. 
The solemn chant went up amidst the distant howling of wild beasts, 
and the solitary bark chapels, adorned by no sculptured marble or 
golden lamps, but surmounted by the rudely framed cross, looked 
out on a domain of prairie, lake, and unbroken forest ; yet was the 
wealth of art surpassed : 

" Iris all hues ; roses and jessamines j 

Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought 

Mosaic ; under foot the violet, 

Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay, 

Broidered the ground, more colored than with stones 

Of costliest emblem." 

A volume might be written upon the Indian mythology of the 
lakes. Each rock, island, lake, river, wood and cataract along the 
shores of Michigan, had its presiding genius, good or evil ; legends 
peopled the earth and air, spirits floated through the forests and 
danced along the streams ; manitous of darkness performed their 
orgies in the storms, and the islands abounded with golden sands 
watched like the fleece of old, by serpents, birds of prey, and mighty 
giants. To these, sacrifices of tobacco pipes and other offerings were 
continually presented. In 1721, Charlevoix was informed that 
Michabout was the manitou of the lakes, and the island of Michili- 
mackinac his birth-place. The name of this island signifies " a great 
turtle," from its resemblance to one, or in the Chippewa speech, 
" the place of giant fairies." This deity, it is said, created Lake Su- 
perior that his Indians might catch beaver ; and the savages believe 
the fragments of rock at the Sault and other rapids are remains of 
the causeway constructed by him to dam up the waters. 

The social condition of the settlers of Michigan was not much 
improved by the transfer of the country from the French to the 
British government. By the capitulation of Montreal, the French 
subjects were permitted to remain, and the fur trade was prosecuted 
by their agency under English companies. Till 1762 the peninsula 
remained quiet, while war raged at a distance ; but the war of the 
Pontiac confederacy soon carried disturbance to its borders. The 



342 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

details of this period belong to history. It is proper merely to men- 
tion the plot by which this famous Indian chief aimed to destroy 
the fort of Detroit. He had ordered his Indians to saw off their 
rifles, conceal them under their blankets, and gain admission to the 
fort under pretence of holding a peaceable council. On a signal 
given by his delivering a belt of wampum in a specified manner, the 
savages were to rush on the soldiers, and fling open the gates to the 
body of warriors on the outside. Word was then sent to Major 
Gladwyn that Pontiac would hold a council with the English com- 
mander on the 9th of May, 1763. The evening before, an Indian 
woman employed by the Major to make some elk-skin moccasins, 
brought them to the fort. Gladwyn, pleased with her work, bespoke 
more, and having paid her for the first, sent a servant to see her 
safely through the gates. Here she lingered, looking wistfully at 
the river, and her behavior appearing singular, the servant asked 
the cause of her delay, but received no answer. The commanding 
officer then called her in, and asked why she hesitated, when, calling 
to mind his former kindness, the woman said she would not take 
away the skin, as she would not be able to bring it back. This re- 
mark exciting suspicion, she was induced by promises of safety and 
reward, to reveal the whole plot. The officers * thought it a trick, 
but the night was spent in preparation ; guards were placed on the 
ramparts, and every man was ready for defence. Their suspicions 
were confirmed by the distant sounds heard of the war-songs and 
dances of the Indians. In the morning Pontiac came with his 
chiefs and braves to the council-house, and was received by the 
Major and officers. The appearance of warlike preparation could 
not escape the Indians, and when they were seated on the skins, 
Pontiac asked the cause, which he was told was the necessity of 
military discipline. He professed much friendship for the English 
in his speech, but his gestures became violent as he approached the 
point when he was to give the concerted signal. The officers drew 
their swords, the soldiers at the doors clattered their arms, and as 
the chief presented the belt in his usual manner, thus failing to give 
the signal, the Major accused him of being a traitor, and pulling 



MARY M C MILLAN. 343 

aside his blanket showed his rifle. The Indians were ordered to 
quit the fort instantly, being assured of safety beyond the pickets, 
and were received by the warriors without with yells and firing, and 
other demonstrations of hostility towards the garrison, the more 
fierce on account of the failure of the enterprise. 

During the Revolutionary struggle the peninsula remained in com- 
parative quiet. Although constituting a part of the Canadian terri- 
tory, a magazine of arms for the savage allies of the loyalists, and a 
mart where soalps were bought and sold, it can boast no prominent 
events to give interest to its history, because not made the theatre 
of action. A mere outpost of Canada, it was a magnificent extent 
of wilderness, in which the axe had scarcely felled a tree ; trackless, 
save where Indian trails wound through the dense forests and 
flowery oaklands ; unbroken, except by scattered Indian villages 
and corn-fields studding the prairies, or the solitary posts of fur 
traders. The treaty of 1783 included the peninsula within the 
bounds of American territory. At this time its sparse white popu- 
lation consisted chiefly of French and English, whose settlements 
were confined to the vicinity of trading posts along the lakes and 
the banks of the principal rivers. When the ravages of the savage 
tribes on the frontier were terminated by the victories of Gen.Wayne 
and the treaty in 1795, the tide of emigration began to flow more 
steadily westward. Michigan was erected into a separate territory 
in 1805, but the progress of settlement was slow, and the principal 
business carried on was still the fur trade. 

In 1810 the island of Mackinaw, a romantic point, rising like an 
altar from the realm of waters, was the central mart of traffic, and 
the lakes were sprinkled with canoes of traders and Indians ; the 
merry Canadian voyageur bartering his trinkets at booths scattered 
along the shores, and the red warrior with his fantastic ornaments, 
his silver armlets and embroidered moccasins, coming to exchange 
his treasures, or on fishing and hunting excursions. The fur mer- 
chants went up the lakes in large canoes, manned by Canadians, to 
meet their agents returning from the remote wilderness at Fort 
William, one of the principal pioneer posts of the northwest country. 



344 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

The council house was a large wooden building, hung with trophies 
of the chase, and Indian implements of war or peaceful employment. 
Thus the romantic aspect of the country had not yet disappeared, 
though the post was crowded with traders, and the epoch of mer- 
cantile enterprise was in its meridian. The semi-barbarous dominion 
exercised for a century over the lakes and the region on their bor- 
ders, had not yet been swept away even by the wings of commerce. 
The war of 1812 was a crisis which brought renewed devastations 
upon the frontier, and the borders were overrun by the British and 
their savage allies. Although, by act of Congress in May of 
this year, two millions of acres were ordered to be surveyed, little 
inducement was held out to emigrants to penetrate a remote wilder- 
ness, through which there were no roads, and as late as 1820 
Detroit, French town, Mackinaw, and Sault Ste. Marie, were the chief 
settlements within the present limits of the State. When, some 
time afterwards, expeditions were projected for exploring the coun- 
try, the interior was yet a ranging ground for savages and wild 
beasts, intersected by Indian trails, with here and there, by the lakes 
or streams, a few clusters of log houses, or the huts of Frenchmen ; 
the roads constructed in 1823 scarcely passable in the most favorable 
season. Gradually, however, the forest began to resound with 
the huntsman's axe, and the log tenements of the hardy pioneers to 
stud the wilderness. The social progress of the territory was not 
marked by any stirring events. The advance of emigration along its 
rivers was solitary and silent ; the cannon and bayonet had long since 
given place to the plough and the woodman's axe, and the subju- 
gation of the wild forest was achieved without the necessity of dis- 
puting possession of the soil with human foes. The emigrants scat- 
tered themselves by degrees over the interior, finding a dry and fertile 
soil, well adapted for culture, aud a country rich in varied and pictu- 
resque scenery. The lake-like and rolling prairies, with their wooded 
islands and forest borders, were beautiful beyond description ; the 
white oak openings were like stately parks enamelled with flowers, 
and the burr-oak groves like orchards studded with large pear trees. 
The mounds ros6 from thirty or forty to two hundred feet, and hill 



MARY MCMILLAN. 34:5 

and dale, secluded lake and forest tract, with its dense growth of 
beech, black walnut, elm, maple, hickory, oaks of different kinds, 
etc., its luxuriant wild grape vines and rich underwood, presented 
scenes that might well captivate the new comers. One by one, or 
in small numbers, wagons bearing the families of the pioneers, with 
their furniture, might be seen winding over the rough roads or 
along the shores ; then smoke rose curling through the woods from 
the prostrate trunks of smouldering trees ; the settler having cleared 
a small space, built his log house, while his cattle fed on the luxu- 
riant herbage in the vicinity ; the labors of the plough followed 
those of the axe, the winter was weathered through, and the suc- 
ceeding year saw him an independent freeholder, with a market at 
his door for the produce of his farm. 

Mrs. McMillan was among the early settlers of the eastern portion 
of Michigan. Her removal with husband and children from a pop- 
ulous and cultivated region, was a laborious journey, performed in 
the manner above mentioned, in a small wagon, laden with a few 
necessary articles of comfort for their new home ; by slow and toil- 
some stages their nights being passed under some temporary shel- 
ter, insufficiently protected from the attacks of wild beasts, and sub- 
ject to inconvenience from night dews, cold winds, and troublesome 
insects. Their establishment was attended with the same circum- 
stances of labor and hardship, which have been described in numer- 
ous other cases. We pass to some incidents that may serve to 
illustrate the times, as well as show the courage and energy of this 
strong-hearted matron. 

In 1813 she was living on the Canada side, in a small house on 
the banks of the Thames, a beautiful little river whose bright waters 
were often skimmed by canoes of savages intent on plunder or 
slaughter, the shrill war-whoop often resounding from the depths of 
the woods. McMillan had left his family to enter into active mili- 
tary service, and their home was two miles distant from the nearest 
neighbor. The country had been kept in a continual state of alarm 
by marauding parties of Indians, who did not hesitate to kill and 
capture, as well as rob the defenceless settlers. Mrs. McMillan suf- 
15* 



346 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

fered the more from anxiety at this critical period, as in the absence 
of her husband the care of their young children devolved entirely 
upon her, and her sole protection was her own prudence and energy. 
One day having heard rumors of the approach of a hostile party, 
and being apprehensive of a sudden attack, she took her infant and 
walked to the nearest house in search of information. There she 
was startled -with the intelligence that savages had been seen in the 
vicinity, and that they had gone in the direction of her dwelling, 
where they would probably stop during the day. The matron 
thought of the little ones she had left at home unprotected, and a 
sickening terror entered her heart. She stayed to hear no more, 
but hastened homeward, bearing in her arms the unconscious babe 
who might now be all that remained to her. As she came near, 
her eyes were eagerly strained for a sight of those beloved ones who 
were accustomed to run to meet her ; all was silence ; and when 
she dashed open the door and stood within the dwelling, a scene of 
desolation met her view I Every article of furniture had disappeared ; 
the floor was dusty with the track of footsteps, and not one of her 
children was anywhere on the premises. 

The alarm and anguish of. the mother may be better imagined 
than described. The fatal idea had flashed at once on her mind, 
that her little ones had been either murdered or carried away cap- 
tive by the merciless Indians. In this terrible emergency she lost 
none of her self-possession, nor her usual sagacity of judgment. 
The savages could not have gone far, and her only course was to 
cross the river and seek aid immediately. But there was no canoe, 
nor mode of conveyance ; she could not swim, nor could she leave 
her helpless infant behind her. She was not long in discovering a 
way to overcome the difficulty. Hastily rolling some logs into the 
water, she placed two boards across them, forming a kind of raft, on 
which she stepped cautiously, carrying her babe, managed to hold 
the frail craft together while she guided its course, and reached the 
opposite shore in safety. Here her terror and anguish were sud- 
denly changed into joy ; the children had heard of the near approach 
of Indians immediately after their mother's departure, and having 



MAKY MCMILLAN. 

taken the precaution to put the furniture in the cellar, out of the 
intruders' way, they had crossed the river to seek protection from 
the neighbors on the other side. 

On another occasion Mrs. McMillan suffered from Indian depreda- 
tion. A large party from the different tribes was on the way to 
Toronto, and in the course of a single day some two hundred of 
them stopped at her house, plundering it of all it contained. 
McMillan was still absent, and the mother did not dare to 
interfere for the rescue of any portion of her property, lest she 
should draw down vengeance upon herself and her innocent chil- 
dren. The work of spoiling went on, therefore, while they stood 
quietly aloof. A fine flock of geese, which she had raised with 
care, was on the grass before the door, and the Indians soon com- 
menced execution among them. Mrs. McMillan started forward to 
save her favorites ; but a gun was instantly levelled at her, with the 
threat of shooting, if she ventured to interrupt the sport. Like 
many other matrons of that day, she prided herself on a handsome 
set of pewter dishes and plates, which her industrious scouring kept 
as bright as silver. Their polish and beauty pleased the Indians, 
who tried them by biting, to ascertain if they were real silver, and 
the whole stock speedily passed into the possession of the depreda- 
tors, who left only a knife and a tin cup in the house. When the 
last of the enemy had passed over the river, the terrified family 
found themselves in safety, but exhausted with hunger, while 
nothing in the shape of food was left about the place. They were 
compelled to fast till supplies could be brought from a distance of 
several miles. 

When the war was over, and comparative (fuiet established, 
McMillan and his family, with two or three others, removed to 
Detroit, ascending the river on a large raft. The trials of the wife 
were not ended. Straggling bands of savages were still lurking in 
the neighborhood of the city, ready for any deed of robbery or 
bloodshed. One* evening when McMillan had left his home for a 
short time, the silence was broken by the report of a gun, which 
caused some alarm to his wife and children, though they were far 



348 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

from anticipating the extent of their calamity. The father's pro- 
longed absence caused apprehension, which was terminated by fatal 
certainty; during the night his lifeless body was brought home. 
This blow was severely felt by the bereaved wife, but a sense of 
duty to the loved ones dependent on her, prevented her from being 
utterly overwhelmed. It may be imagined, after this sad tragedy, 
how anxiously passed the nights in her lonely dwelling. In the 
middle of one dark night, the roar of the alarm guns was again 
heard. The affrighted mother sprang up, gathered her children 
hastily together, and knowing well there was no safety within 
doors, hurried with them from the house. The house of a friend 
at a considerable distance, offered shelter, but the darkness was 
intense ; the fugitives lost their way, and ere long found themselves 
in the midst of the deep mire for which the roads of Detroit were 
formerly so celebrated. More urgent peril, however, was behind 
them ; they struggled on, leaving their shoes in the mud, and man- 
aged to escape to the house of their friend, where they were received 
with kindness. The mother's quick eye, scanning her rescued 
group, now discovered that her son, eleven years of age, was 
missing ! The alarm was given, and the next day men were sent 
in every direction about the country to search for him ; but all in- 
vain. It was too certain that he had been captured, and the dis- 
tracted mother feared he had been murdered by the relentless 
savages. For four long months she endured the tortures of sus- 
pense. She then learned that her boy had been taken prisoner, and 
was still held in captivity at some distance from the city. The sum 
demanded for his ransom was speedily sent, and he was restored to 
the arms of his mother. During his captivity he had fared hardly, 
subsisting chiefly on buds and roots, and never having even a piece 
of bread. This son is now living at Jackson, Michigan. 

After the termination of the Indian troubles, Mrs. McMillan 
maintained her family by her exertions, giving each of her children 
a substantial education, with such training as to fit them for every 
duty and vicissitude of life. She made enough to purchase a valu- 
able piece of land near the Presbyterian church, with a large framed 



MART MCMILLAN. 349 

house, which is now known as the Temperance or Purdy's Hotel. 
Mrs. McMillan resides in the city with one of her sons, and is often 
solicited by those who have heard something of her romantic 
history, to relate her adventures in detail, and describe the life 
led by many who like her, encountered the perils of war in a new 
country. 



XX. 

CHARLOTTE A. CLARK. 

.Cms lady accompanied her husband, who was commissary to the 
United States troops, in November, 1819, to a military station on 
the Upper Mississippi, situated on the St. Peter's side of the river. 
Several persons went with them from Prairie du Chien ; the voyage 
being made in keel-boats, and the waters so low that the men were 
obliged frequently to wade in the river and draw them through the 
sand. Six weeks were occupied in passing over the distance of 
three hundred miles, one week of which was spent at Lake Pepin. 
Having reached the place of destination, the company were obliged 
to live in their boats till pickets could be erected-for their protection 
against the Indians, who not understanding the object of this inva- 
sion of the wild, or the display of arms and ammunition, might fall 
upon them in some unguarded moment. Huts also had to be built, 
though, in the rudest manner, to serve as a shelter during the winter 
from the rigors of a severe climate. After living with her family in 
the boat for a month, it was a highly appreciated luxury for Mrs. 
Clark to find herself at home in a log hut, plastered with clay, and 
" chinked " for her reception. It was December before they got into 
winter quarters, and ' the fierce winds of that exposed region, with 
terrific storms now and then, were enough to make them wish 
to keep within doors as much as possible. Once, in a violent tem- 
pest, the roof of their dwelling was raised by the wind, and partially 



CHARLOTTE A. CLARK. 351 

slid off; there was no protection for the inmates, but the baby in 
the cradle was pushed under the bed for safety. Notwithstanding 
these discomforts and perils, the inconveniences they had to en- 
counter, and their isolated situation, the little party of emigrants 
were not without their social enjoyments. They were nearly all 
young married persons, cheerful and fond of gaiety, and had their 
dancing assemblages once a fortnight. An instance of the kindness 
of the commanding officer, Col. Leaven worth, deserves mention. 
One of the other officers having been attacked with symptoms of 
scurvy, and great alarm prevailing on that account, the Colonel took 
a sleigh, and accompanied by a few friends, set off on a journey 
through the country inhabited by Indians, not knowing what dan- 
gers he might encounter from their hostility, or the perils of the 
way, for the purpose of procuring medicinal roots. The party was 
absent several days, and in the meantime collected a supply of hem- 
lock and spignet, which they used with excellent effect in curing the 
disease. 

In the ensuing summer, when Col. Snelling had the command, 
Fort Snelling was begun. St. Louis, distant nine hundred miles, was 
at that time the nearest town of any importance. After the erec- 
tion of the fort, Mrs. Clark says (i we made the first clearing at the 
Falls of St. Anthony, and built a grist-mill." The wife of Capt. 
Gfeorge Gooding, of the 5th regiment, was the first white woman 
who ever visited those beautiful falls. She afterwards married Col. 
Johnson, and went to reside in St. Louis. The daughter of Mrs. 
Clark, now Mrs. Van Cleve of Ann Arbor, was born while the 
troops were stationed at Prairie du Chien. At that time Col. 
Leaven worth received orders to go up to the place where, in the follow- 
ing summer, Fort Snelling was built. He went, though he had at this 
time no wholesome provisions ; even the bread, it was said, was " two 
inches in the barrels thick with mould ;" no vegetables were to be 
had, and several of the men were perishing with scurvy. The 
Sioux Indians were in the vicinity, and they were mutually suspi- 
cious of each other, so that no game could be bought ; nor was 
there a prospect of matters being mended till more amicable rela- 



352 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

tions could be established. The prices of sucli fresh edibles as could 
be procured at Prairie du Chien were enormous ; a small and lean 
chicken procured for a sick lady cost a dollar ; beets as large as the 
finger, one dollar a dozen ; and onions were ten dollars a bushel. 
The cold is described as so intense that the soldiers called out merely 
while they could answer to the roll, often had their faces frost-bitten ; 
the thermometer at seven in the morning being known to stand 
thirty- five degrees below zero. 

Mrs. Clark remained at Fort Snelling, with the exception of 
about a year, till 1827. The only young lady in the company was 
married when about fifteen years of age, to a Mr. Dennis, also of 
the army. The wedding took place in the winter, and the bridal 
party was obliged to descend the river, three hundred miles, on the 
ice, to Prairie du Chien, to have the ceremony performed. The 
monotony of their life was varied by continual alarms and excite- 
ments, from the encounters of the hostile tribes of Sioux and Chip- 
pewas, who came frequently into their close neighborhood, and 
were not scrupulous as to deeds of violence and treachery towards 
each other. The incidents we shall mention, illustrative of other 
experiences, are alluded to in a preceding memoir. 

The quarters within the fort were crowded, and Mrs. Clark's house, 
a substantial stone building, stood without the walls a few rods distant, 
on the military land adjoining. After the conclusion of the amicable 
treaty already mentioned, the Chippewas had pitched their camp 
at the foot of a hill not far from this house. About nine o'clock in 
the evening, the family was alarmed by an unusual noise in that 
direction, and the discharge of firearms. A gentleman who was at 
that time the guest of Mr. Clark, entered in haste and some trepi- 
dation, saying that a bullet had just whistled past his head, and 
that there must be some difficulty " below." The seclusion of the 
dwelling was thought of with terror whenever there was any alarm 
at night, though the sight of the fort close at hand gave courage 
to all in the daytime. Protection and aid, however, were prompt- 
ly invoked, and the troops aroused. It appeared that some of the 
Sioux, after having sat in the wigwams of the Chippewas, smoked 



CHARLOTTE A. CLARK. 353 

the pipe of peace, and bid them good night, had deliberately 
turned about and fired upon them. The confusion that ensued 
may be imagined ; the Chippewas flew to arms, and the treacher- 
ous Sioux made their escape. The commanding officer of the gar- 
rison had the wounded taken to the hospital, and attended to as 
well as the circumstances permitted. Among them was an aged 
chief and his little daughter, only ten years of age, in whom the 
ladies were deeply interested. She was much injured, and sur- 
vived but a short time. The Indians called upon the commander, 
as the representative of their " great father," to compel the Sioux 
to render satisfaction for this cruel outrage ; and in pursuance of 
the instructions of government to commanders on the out-posts, to 
maintain peace as far as possible between the hostile tribes without 
interfering in their affairs, he sent an order to the chiefs requiring 
the surrender of the young men who had been guilty. 

'Not long after this, a large party of Sioux was seen approaching 
the fort. " We could see them," said Mrs. Clark, " for a long way on 
the hills by which Fort Snelling is surrounded, and it was easy to 
perceive at once that they were disposed to resist the summons. The 
interpreter, who was a thorough fellow, and knew how important 
was an aspect of courage and determination in dealing with sava- 
ges, went out to meet them, and informed them what would be the 
consequence of their refusal to comply with the just demand ; their 
great father, the President, would send into the country as many 
warriors as there were leaves on the trees, or blades of grass under 
their feet, and these would kill and burn until not a Sioux should 
be left. A hurried council was held by the chiefs, and at length it 
was decided that the criminals should be given up." They were 
accordingly delivered, and put in durance to await the pleasure of 
the injured tribe. Meanwhile the old chief who had been wounded 
and bereaved of his child, was rapidly sinking to the grave, and 
true to his warrior nature, desired only to live long enough to see 
just vengeance overtake the murderers. They were appointed to 
suffer the Indian punishment of running the gauntlet. 

An enclosed piece of ground was selected, not far from the fort, lined 



354 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

with men and women of both tribes, the soldiers of the garrison being 
also spectators of the scene. The dying chief appeared, borne on the 
shoulders of his young men ; and all was soon in readiness. If 
the condemned could reach the further side of the fence, where 
their friends were stationed, their lives were safe. Again to quote 
Mrs. Clark : " A gentleman w r ho chanced to be in company with 
several Chippewa braves who had just come from the fort, and 
were walking towards the ground, told me they were laughing and 
talking as if perfectly indifferent to what was going on, till they reached 
the place where the deadly work was about to commence. Then 
their countenances underwent a fearful change almost instantane- 
ously, expressing the darkest passion and the most ferocious hatred." 
The scene was one of intense and terrible interest. It last- 
ed but a few moments, amid cheers from both sides, and yells 
that were absolutely deafening. The children of the white resi- 
dents who witnessed it, partook of the wild excitement. " My 
brother Malcolm," says Mrs. Clark's daughter, "a little fellow, 
threw up his cap, and shouted with the rest. One young Indian 
4 Young Six' he was called had petted us frequently, and was a 
great favorite ; we were anxious he should escape, and watched his 
fearful race with breathless eagerness. He reached the fence, and 
sprang upon it ; a moment more and he would have been safe 
among his friends, who were ready to receive and welcome him, 
when suddenly he bounded high in air and fell, pierced by a 
shower of bullets." Women and men then rushed frantically upon 
the bodies of the slain ; the scalps were torn off, and the corpses 
horribly mutilated with hatchets, the squaws even thrusting their 
fingers into the bullet-holes, and licking the blood as it flowed ! 
When the savage avengers supposed they had done their duty to 
their lost friends, the scene was closed with their scalp-dance, the 
fearful orgies being prolonged several hours. 

Perhaps, in the exposed and perilous situation of the garrison, the 
commandant could not venture to interfere with the execution of savage 
vengeance ; for the mangled bodies of the slain were suffered to lie a 
long time unburied. The old chief, feeling now that his time was 



CHARLOTTE A. CLARK. 355 

come for departure to the spirit-land, caused himself to be painted 
according to Indian custom, and the scalps to be hung round his 
neck, sang his own death-song, and expired with the calmness of a 
hero or a philosopher. 

The daughter of Mrs. Clark was married to Mr. Van Cleve while 
her parents were at Fort Winnebago. They were obliged to send 
one hundred miles for the clergyman Rev. Dr. Gregory, then mis- 
sionary to the Indians near Green Bay. It was said that when he 
arrived, it was well he was familiar with the service, being so snow- 
blind from his long drive, that -he could not have read it. 

Mrs. Clark is described as still a very handsome woman, with 
grey hair neatly arranged over a classic head, and a countenance 
lighted up with intelligence and spirit when in conversation, with 
great sweetness of expression at all times. She interests every one 
who forms her acquaintance, and often delights her friends by a 
narration of the incidents of her pioneer experience, delineating the 
scenes at Fort Snelling with so much graphic and vivid power that 
they seem to pass before the auditor. Her children inherit her 
talent, with her agreeable person and manners, and are ornaments 
of the polished society in which they move. Mrs. Van Cleve 
resides at Ann Arbor, Michigan; Mrs. Clark, Miss Clark and Mrs. 
Lincoln, in Cincinnati, and another married daughter on the other 
side of the river in Kentucky. Malcolm Clark has spent many 
years at a distance from civilization among the aboriginal tribes, and 
is now % trader near Fort Benton in Oregon, married to a woman 
of the " Black Foot" Indians. He is highly respected by them, 
and called " Lesokin," or " four bears," because he killed four of 
those animals one morning before breakfast. In 1850 he returned 
to " the settlements," on a visit to his family, bringing his two elder 
children to his sister to be educated at Ann Arbor. The girl 
Pistapowaca had been christened before her arrival by a Roman 
Catholic priest, but the boy Natiena was baptized in St. An- 
drew's church in that village the grandmother herself leading 
him to the font, and appearing as the only sponsor. The father 
had a Spanish boy with him, bound to his service by a tie of grati- 



356 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

tude, whose duty it was to attend the children. Mr. Clark wore his 
Indian dress the leggins ornamented with human hair as far 
east as St. Louis and so much had his complexion changed, that 
his sisters would scarcely have recognized him. The mother had 
cheerfully consented to part with her children for their good, for she 
had a stout heart, and knew they ought to be taught many things. 
Her boy, she said, would certainly return ; he was to be a great 
chief, as her father had been ; and so, when the canoe was ready 
for the departure of her husband and children, she accompanied 
them to the river side, and as the bark pushed off, threw herself 
upon the ground, concealing her face in her dress. When, after 
rounding a point, they again caught sight of her, she was still lying 
motionless, absorbed in grief. When the father left his children to 
return to his distant home, the little girl, taught to subdue the 
expression of emotion, would not suffer herself to cry out; but 
clasped her throat with her hands to choke down her feelings. 

One incident in Clark's early life is characteristic. When a mere 
lad, the men at the fort had trapped a wolf, and were debating 
how they could manage to muzzle him, before taking him out. 
Malcolm passing by, inquired what they were about, and imme- 
diately offered to hold the animal. Suiting the action to the word, 
he clapped his hands on either side the creature's jaws, and held 
them forcibly together, while the soldiers slipped on the cords. 
Clark was at West Point when the Texan difficulties with Mexico 
broke out, and departed to join the service ; working his way after- 
wards to his present home, where the traders have established a 
garrison of their own, for protection against the hostile Indians. 
Nearly all of them have married Indian women, who, proud of the 
alliance, have become the " exclusives" of the country, refusing to 
hold intercourse with other squaws. The boy aforementioned was 
the son of a Spaniard by an Indian wife, and had been captured by 
a party of Indians who had come unexpectedly upon the garrison, 
seized him while others escaped, and were about to satiate their 
revenge by torturing him. Watching his opportunity, with won- 
derful address, Clark rushed out at the gate of the fort into the 



CHARLOTTE GEEK. 357 

midst of the savages, caught the boy, and was again safe within the 
walls before the Indians had recovered from their surprise. The 
poor lad was wounded severely by the hatchets thrown at him, the 
scars of which he bore ever afterwards. He became so much 
attached to his deliverer, that he could not be induced at any time 
to separate from him. 



Hezekiah Geer was one of the most enterprising among the pio- 
neers of Illinois. His residence is now at Galena, where he is one 
of the largest lead dealers in that region ; and his present prosperity, 
nobly earned as it has been, is doubly enjoyed from the remembrance 
of the hardship, privation, and actual suffering endured on their 
first migration into the country, when the means of the new settler 
were inadequate without incessant toil to the wants of a large fam- 
ily ; when for years they scarcely saw the face of a clergyman, except 
at distant intervals an itinerant missionary. The reward of these 
labors, which Mr. Geer's children share in peace and abundance, she 
who partook all his cares, and practised every self-denial to lighten 
them, did not live to enjoy. They removed from Massachusetts to 
the southern part of Illinois some time about 1820, when the por- 
tions of country now covered with smiling villages and thriving farms 
were a wilderness untrodden save by the roving hunter, the surveyor, 
or the savages who receded before the footsteps of civilization. Her 
experience is much the same with that of many others who left 
home and kindred to seek better fortune in the forest, and found 
themselves obliged to struggle with difficulties they had never, or 
but faintly imagined. 

During the Black Hawk war a large part of Michigan and 
the neighboring territories suffered much from apprehension of 
danger, kept up by floating rumors that the Indians were intent 
on depredations and incited to attack the whites by the occurrences 
that had taken place in Illinois. Mr. Geer and his family had 
then been living at Galena some years. The inhabitants of the 



358 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

place and neighborhood were in a state of excitement from continual 
alarms, and prepared to take refuge in the fort, in case of the appear- 
ance of the dreaded enemy. It was an object with the commander 
to assure himself that he might depend on the promptitude and 
courage of his troops and the citizen volunteers in case of sudden 
attack, and he adopted a singular method of testing these qualities. 
One dark and stormy night he caused a select number to march off 
silently to a hill not far distant, where they raised the Indian war- 
whoop. The ruse was but too successful in creating a general 
panic ; the soldiers of the garrison and men of the village were 
instantly on the alert and ready for action ; but the terror and con- 
fusion that prevailed among the helpless women and children, were 
beyond the power of language to describe. Mrs. Geer was at that 
time the mother of a young infant, with twins not more than two 
years old. Springing out of bed and hastily throwing on a few 
articles of clothing, she caught in her arms her babe and one of 
the twins her eldest daughter and followed by the other chil- 
dren, rushed forth, hurrying to the shelter and protection of the fort. 
Mr. Geer was at that time holding a command, having been on duty 
since the breaking out of the war. The effects of this cruel experi- 
ment were fatal to some of the children who were borne into the cold 
night air and storm by their terrified mothers. Both those Mrs. 
Geer carried in her arms died from the effects of the exposure. Yet 
in the midst of the general consternation occasioned by the alarm, 
some of the women found time to laugh ; for one man who in his 
fear had hid himself in a corner of the room where they were gath- 
ered in the fort, was discovered by some of them, and driven out 
with a flourish of broomsticks. 

Mrs. Clark said that while her husband was at Fort Winnebago, 
it was no uncommon thing to test the courage of the soldiers by get- 
ting up a false alarm. The lead mines were then attracting consid- 
erable attention, and desertions to them were so common among 
the soldiers in the winter of 1819, that orders were often given to 
beat the long roll at dead of night, that it might be ascertained who 
was missing. The commanding officer, just before this signal 



CHARLOTTE GEEK MKS. CLAKK. 359 

sounded, would go round to the beds of those soldiers in whose 
fidelity he had confidence to notify them of the object of the alarm. 
But the women even of his own family, though warned, could not 
hear the dismal note of the drum without a thrill of terror. It may 
be supposed that experiments of this kind could not be frequently 
repeated with the intended effect. 

At the time of Mrs. Geer's last illness and death, her husband 
sent two hundred miles for an Episcopal clergyman to administer 
the sacrament and baptize his children; but the spirit could not 
linger for the " slow arrival," and had already gone to sit at the hea- 
venly table of Him on whom her hopes of everlasting life were 
fixed. Her last resting place is near the great Mississippi. 

Mrs. Geer's name was Charlotte Clark. She was the sister of 
Rev. William A. Clark, D.D., Rector of All Saints' Church, New 
York, Rev. Grin Clark, D.D., formerly Rector at Geneva, New 
York, and Rev. John A. Clark, D.D., of Philadelphia. Mrs. Wil- 
liam A. Clark should be numbered among the Western female pio- 
neers. When a young and gay girl, she removed with her god- 
parents, Mr. and Mrs. TenEyck, and the Yredenburghs to Skenea- 
teles, then almost a wilderness. At the time of her marriage, Mr. 
Clark was one of the first missionaries of the Episcopal church in 
Western New York ; and to him she proved a true co-worker in his 
duties, conforming cheerfully to the circumstances in which she was 
placed, and giving up her own inclinations at all times. She became 
the mother of nine children. The family removed to Buffalo about 
1817, and to Michigan in the spring of 1837, after which Mrs. 
Clark suffered every year from the fevers of the country, which 
undermined a constitution naturally strong. She is retiring in 
manner and domestic in her habits, yet fond of society at home, and 
charming all who approach her. The habit acquired through years 
of self-denial of sacrificing her own inclinations, has caused her to 
think less of the merely ornamental than the useful in life. In the 
first year after her marriage, she was accustomed to wear white mus- 
lin dresses ; but " some of the congregation " in the country village 
where her husband officiated, decided that she was *' too much 



360 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

dressed," and finding that the matter was commented on, she laid 
aside the obnoxious garments and never afterwards wore white. 
The corner stone of the first Episcopal church in Buffalo was laid by 
Mr. Clark. He lived but three years after leaving the city of New 
York for Michigan, and lies buried in a beautiful opening near the 
village of Brighton, Livingston County. His children owe the cul- 
tivation of their talents, and their usefulness in life, to the judicious 
training of their parents, and most affectionately do they acknowledge 
the obligation. They have truly risen up to call their mother 
blessed. Two of them, Chloe and Mary H. Clark, now reside in 
Ann Arbor, Michigan, and one is a minister of an Episcopal church 
in Cincinnati. 



XXL 

SARAH BRYAN. 

IN the severe labors peculiar to pioneers in a new country, the trials 
and privations they were compelled to encounter from day to day, 
Mrs. Bryan was as conspicuous as any of the early settlers of Michi- 
gan. She came with John Bryan her husband, to Ypsilanti, taking 
up their residence on a small farm at what is now called " Wood- 
ruff's Grove." Her journal says : " We left Geneseo October 7th, 
1823, for our new home arrived in Detroit in ten days ; put up at 
the Widow Hubbard's, who kept a sort of boarding house, and de- 
posited our goods in the cellar till my husband could go out to the 
" Grove" (as the settlement was then called) and procure a team to 
move us through. He returned in three days with a man, two yoke 
of oxen, and a wagon, which we found was not sufficient to contain 
all our goods and the family. This consisted of five children, besides 
myself and husband. Fortunately for us, however, we found a young 
man who was going out with but" half a load, and persuaded him to 
take the remainder of ours. After a wearisome and almost indescrib- 
able journey of four days through thick woods, my husband cutting 
the road before us with an axe, we came, the night of October 23rd, 
to the beautiful Huron shore. We had the privilege of staying in 
a log cabin till we could build one of our own, which we moved 
into the last day of December. Eight weeks after this, February 
27th, 1824, Alpha was born; we called him Alpha Washtenaw, 
16 



362 PIONEEK WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

the latter name being given in honor of the county, and the former 
on account of his being the first white child born in the county." 
Allen and Kamsay, the first settlers of Ann Arbor, agreed to mark 
the auspicious event by presenting the infant with a lot of land at 
the county seat. 

" It was amusing that first fall and winter to hear the corn mills 
in operation every morning before daylight. There were but two 
in the settlement, made by burning a hole in the top of a sound 
oak stump, large enough to hold a peck or more. After scraping 
the coal clean from the stump, one end of a stick, some six feet 
long and eight inches in diameter, was rounded, and it was sus- 
pended from a spring-pole so that the rounded end would clear the 
stump when hanging loosely. A hole was bored through this pestle 
and a stick driven through projecting on each side for handles, and 
the mill was finished. One man would pound a peck of dry corn 
in half an hour so that half of it would pass through a sieve for 
bread ; the coarser part being either ground again or boiled for 
hominy. Very little bread of any other kind was used in the set- 
tlement for the first two years. But as regards my own experience, 
the autumn of 1824 was the most trying. Thus far we had en^ 
countered few more inconveniences than we anticipated in the wil- 
derness, and I was prepared for them, prepared to bear all without 
a murmur. In' October Mr. Bryan accepted an offer to finish a 
building at Maumee city, and shipped his tools at Detroit, where he 
had been doing an eight months' job. He came home and stayed 
a few days to provide some wood, and told me if he was likely to 
be more than three weeks absent, he would return at the end of 
that time and put up more provisions, as our small stock would 
be then exhausted. No person had tnen attempted to penetrate 
the forest from our place to Monroe, but rather than go round by 
Brownstown, .he determined to take the risk of finding his way 
through the woods alone. My heart sank within me to think of 
what would be my fate and that of my six children, if any evil 
should befal him alone in the forest; I however summoned my 
fortitude and resolved not to be faint-hearted." 



SARAH BRYAN. 363 

An attack of illness followed. " The three weeks passed ; a good 
supply of potatoes was nearly all tl>e provisions we had left, and I 
began to look with great anxiety for my husband. A felon on my 
right hand deprived me entirely of the use of it for more than three 
weeks. With the pain, fatigue, and want of sleep I was ready to 
despair, but for my children's sake I kept up my resolution ; still no 
tidings came from Mr. Bryan, and my fears for his safety became 
more and more painful. Two months passed, and brought cold De- 
cember for me and my little ones, but brought no news from him 
whose duty it was to provide for us. My sufferings became extreme. 
I tried to get some one to go in search of him, and ascertain at least 
if he ever got through the woods alive, but I had no money even to 
bear expenses, and all told me they ' guessed ' he was safe and would 
soon return. How myself and babes were to live meanwhile I knew 
not. We had eaten nothing but potatoes for several weeks ; the neigh- 
bors were nearly as destitute and had nothing to lend, even if I could 
have borrowed when I could not expect to pay again. For a temporary 
change in diet from potatoes alone, I ventured to borrow a few ears of 
corn, promising to pay if Mr. Bryan ever returned ; this I shelled and 
boiled to jelly, which we relished very much while it lasted. 

"It was now the 23d of December; I had been all day trying 
to induce some one to go to Maumee for tidings, and had succeeded 
in obtaining a promise from a young man that he would go in two 
or three days if I would get a horse. Alas ! horses were as 
scarce as bread, and I knew it would be impossible to procure one. 
I returned home and stood in our log cabin door, thinking what to 
do next, when my husband rode up, and put an end to my fears. 
He had written several letters, which were delayed in Detroit, and 
never reached me. Finding wages high, and the roads very bad, he 
had concluded to remain, supposing I was well provided for. Our 
sufferings for five or six years after this were even greater, if possible, 
than before, but it would take a volume to describe them." 

These difficulties passed over. Mr. and Mrs. Bryan had what 
served for a competence in those days, and were of excellent charao- 



364 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ter and industrious habits ; being of respectable stock, and training 
up their children to become useful members of the community 
Their care and efforts were required for a large family ; and those 
who live within reach of all the advantages of civilization, can hardly 
understand the difficulties in the way of improvement which existed 
in a pioneer settlement. There were no public schools, no churches, 
nor did there seem to be any Sabbaths, judging from observation of 
the habits of some of the backwoodsmen. The first Sabbath school 
gathered together in this place, was in the summer of 1828. That 
same year a small school was kept in a log room some twelve or 
fourteen feet square, by a young woman whose education hardly 
fitted her for the employment. Mrs. Bryan, with a few other 
women of the settlement, took a great interest in the Sunday school, 
and some other efficient plans for benevolent effort were set on foot 
through her active agency and cooperation. She was directress of 
the first benevolent society in that part of the country. The new 
emigrants at that time suffered much from sickness peculiar to the 
region, and often whole families were prostrated at once by the 
fever of the country. Mrs. Bryan did not spare herself when her 
aid or nursing was required by her neighbors ; day and night found 
her at the bedside of the suffering, or in the shanties of the poor, 
and. many an invalid who had no comfortable shelter has been taken 
to her own home, provided with everything requisite, and waited 
upon with all the tenderness and care of a mother. 

As the children grew older, the want of a good school was more 
sensibly felt ; and as there was none in the vicinity, Mrs. Bryan 
appropriated to the purpose the best room in her house, and engaged 
a young man of good education, who was in want of a comfortable 
home, to teach her children, with others in the village who were 
permitted to join them. Thus was a good foundation laid for the 
advantages afterwards enjoyed, and each member of their large family 
received a substantial English education. Some of them have since 
attained to distinguished excellence in the higher departments of 
literature. The eldest daughter, now residing in Illinois, was equalled 
by few scholars of the time in various branches of study, particularly 



SARAH BUY AN. 365 

mathematics ; and the second daughter is now Mrs. Lois B. Adams, 
with whose high reputation as a poet and prose writer many Ameri- 
can readers are acquainted. Her first poetical effusions appeared 
in the Kalarnazoo Telegraph, in which paper Mr. Adams had an 
interest at the time of her marriage. She now resides in the south- 
ern part of Kentucky, where she has charge of a female seminary. 

In 1835 or '6 Mr. and Mrs. Bryan removed from Ypsilanti, and 
at present are living in Constantine, Michigan. They had eight 
children at the time of their removal, and all have grown up to re- 
spectability and usefulness, having in early life had the judicious 
training of a religious mother, who watched over them in love, guid- 
ing them by precept and example, and by her affectionate and cheer- 
ful spirit diffusing perpetual sunshine in her home. 

A lady whose family lived in Livingston county, one of the most 
recently settled in Michigan, and inhabited generally by poor peo- 
ple, says their range of what might be called society was limited to 
less than half a dozen families, the nearest distant about four miles, 
and some ten or more from each other. They had left a large circle 
of friends in the city of New York, and as it may be supposed, felt 
the change to the wild country ; yet were they contented and cheer- 
ful, pining only when prevented by inclement weather from wander- 
ing through the woods or fields in summer, plucking the wild flowers 
which grow in such profusion and beauty in the openings. The 
annual fires kindled by the Indians and first settlers to destroy the 
old grass, and prepare for an early and abundant crop in spring, are 
said to have produced many of the openings, the flames extending 
often beyond the marshes or prairies. The farmers were in the 
habit of ploughing trenches round the outside of their fences to ensure 
their safety ; yet sometimes the fire did serious damage among hay- 
stacks, wheat or barns, to which the wind carried it. In consequence 
of this clanger, severe legal penalties were attached to the act of set- 
ting fire to marshes, yet it continued to be practised for years till they 
became private property, sadly marring the beauty of the view, 
destroying the trees, and preventing the growth of the young oaks. 
The bushes which sprang in a season from their roots, called " oak- 



366 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST 

grubs," are difficult to remove from the soil. A poor man whose 
means just sufficed to remove his family, and perhaps keep one cow, 
had often to work out many days before he could afford to hire a 
" breaking up team," which was a plough constructed for the pur- 
pose, and from five to seven yoke of oxen. The wife picked and 
dried berries in the fall, often in marshes so wet that she was obliged 
to wear her husband's boots. By the sale of cranberries, she fur- 
nished herself with many little comforts she could not otherwise 
have procured. Flour could always be had at the mills in exchange 
for this article. By such industry and patient perseverance was the 
way prepared for the occupation of those lands by an intelligent, 
enterprising, and ' t ow prosperous people. Not the least of the 
sufferings of th^ primitive settlers arose from sickness, whole families 
having to pass through the terrible acclimating, often at the same 
time, and the ravages of disease sometimes leaving desolate the 
widow and the orphan, far distant from kindred or early friends. 
At such time the sympathy and kind offices of neighbors were never 
withheld, even though they might also be suffering and almost des- 
titute. Physicians were few and far apart in the inland counties, 
and even when their attendance could be had, their want of know- 
ledge of the local fevers was often the source of mischief rather than 
good. 

A change nas now passed over the face of the country. How 
progressive has been the expression " the far West !" Many years 
since it might have meant the western part of New York, as a resi- 
dent of its metropolis once said she had been "out west" to visit 
her sister, who lived at Pennyan, in Yates County ! A young 
woman of Skeneateles was engaged many years her friends being 
unwilling to let her marry and go so far away as the Ohio ; and when 
finally the knot was tied, she remained three years under the parental 
roof before she could be permitted to take so long and perilous a 
journey. From the Ohio the foot of emigration bore " the far 
West" farther ; it settled for a while in Indiana, Illinois and 
Michigan, then passed to Iowa and Wisconsin, and now is wavering 
beyond the Mississippi in Minnesota, with the cry for Oregon and 



MKS. CHAPIN. 367 

California, And not long since, we noticed a jocular proposition to 
erect a tollgate at the boundary of the domain of the United States, 
in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 



SYLVIA CHAPIN, the wife of Dr. Cyrenius Chapin, was the oldest 
pioneer among the first settlers of Buffalo. In all the vicissitudes 
she experienced, she well and faithfully discharged the duties that lay 
before her, as wife, mother, neighbor, and Christian woman ; exhibit- 
ing, with the high qualities of firmness and energy, a quiet dignity, 
gentleness and kindliness which won the affection of those who 
knew her best, as well as commanded the respect of her acquain- 
tances. Her " patient continuance in well doing," has met its re- 
ward in the comfort and respectability of her advanced age, passed 
among her children and descendants. 

Dr. Chapin came to Buffalo with his family in 1805. It is 
stated in Turner's "Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of 
Western New York, etc.," that in 1806 there were but sixteen 
houses in the place, and those located on what is now called Main 
Street. It will be remembered that in December 1813 the town 
was burnt by the British, who had crossed near Black Rock. On 
hearing their firing, Chapin, who commanded a portion of the 
citizen soldiery, went to meet the enemy, and holding up his cane, 
with a white handkerchief fastened to the end, obtained a parley, 
and finally a promise that the town should be spared. Mrs. Chapin 
at this period of anxiety was compelled to leave home to assist in 
the care of her daughter's sick husband, but before her departure 
instructed her two other little girls to sleep always with a bundle of 
necessary clothing under their heads, and in case of alarm, to go off 
with the rest of the citizens if necessarv. The agreement not to 

*> o 

molest the town was violated. Dr. Chapin was on duty, and of course 
unable to attend to his children. Louisa related how they were 
waked at dead of night with the noise and confusion in the streets, 



368 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

hurriedly made their simple preparations, 'and stepped out of doors 
to join the crowd. In the darkness, amid the severity of winter, 
women and children took up their doleful march. The first glim- 
mering of day mingled with the lurid glare from their burning 
dwellings, and at almost every step those who fled from their homes 
encountered the wounded and fugitives from the action below. In 
the pressure and confusion of the crowd hurrying onward, mothers 
were separated from their children, and lost sight of each other, 
being in many cases for days ignorant of the fate of their beloved 
relatives. On, on our fugitives went through the dark deep woods, 
continually within hearing of the savage yells around them, and 
trembling with fear, for they could not tell where the Indians were, 
and they seemed to be coming upon them. Finally, after a travel of 
pome hours, the little girls halted with the rest, and were refreshed 
with a drink of milk at a farmhouse. In the mean time, while this 
was going on in the neighborhood of Buffalo, Mrs. Chapin was 
overwhelmed with anxiety about her husband and children. The 
sick man. she nursed had died, and she was for weeks uncertain of 
the fate of her children, and for some days of that of her husband, 
for she knew there had been an engagement. 

One woman of masculine bearing, Mrs. St. John, persisted not- 
withstanding the general alarm, in staying with her young daughters 
to protect their property, and succeeded in obtaining the favor of 
having the house she occupied exempted from destruction. It was 
the only building saved except the stone jail, which resisted the 
efforts to set it on fire. The house was afterwards presented to 
Mrs. St. John by the authorities. A neighbor on the opposite side 
of the street, a Mrs. Lovejoy, was less fortunate. It was supposed 
that fear had driven her into temporary insanity ; she made 
no attempt to solicit mercy or protection, but barricaded her doors 
and windows, and thus awaited the intruders. For a while she was 
unmolested, till an Indian, bent on plunder, effected his entrance ; 
then, instead of submitting to what was inevitable, the loss of her 
goods, Mrs. Lovejoy attempted to rescue them, and defended her- 
self with a large carving knife. In a contest for a red merino long 



ANECDOTES. 369 

shawl she wounded the savage, nearly severing his thumb from his 
hand. The Indian ran across the way to Mrs. St. John, whom he 
ordered to bind it up ; then hurried back, she knew too well for the 
purpose of vengeance. The next thing she heard was a scream, 
and presently the savage appeared again, a scalp with a woman's 
long hair hanging from his belt. 

Mrs. Chapin preserved several pieces of plate which were at that 
time in her possession. A silver pitcher in her house bears the 
inscription: "Presented by the citizens of Buffalo to Colonel 
Cyrenius Chapin, the brave soldier, the good citizen, the honest 
man." 

Tradition says that Tecumseh often caused much annoyance 
to one lady in Detroit, by cutting the air with his tomahawk close 
to her daughters' heads ; also that her ingenuity devised a scheme 
of revenge on one occasion, when her children had the measles, and 
the chief had laid himself on her floor to sleep. She gave him the 
pillow from under the heads of the sick ones, hoping he would take 
the disease and lose his life by following the Indian practice of jump- 
ing into the water in case of fever. There was no time to test the 
success of her plan, for shortly after this occurred the battle of the 
Thames, in which Tecumseh lost his life. 

A woman in one of the remote counties of Michigan told one of 
her neighbors, that after her removal to her new house, when the 
.few provisions they had been able to bring were exhausted, and the 
roads so wretched through the heavily timbered land that it was 
scarcely possible to bring supplies from Detroit, her family had lived 
on potato tops, boiled with a little salt, till something better could 
be raised. In the early settlement of Wayne county a family hav- 
ing succeeded in getting a pig, penned it up and began to fatten it 
for slaughter, when the matron one day, at home alone with her 
children, was alarmed by the sight of a huge bear helping himself 
without ceremony at her out-of-door larder. Fortunately, she was 
acquainted with the use of a rifle, and having wounded, succeeded 
in driving away the bear ; he was afterwards tracked by the men, 
and his thieving career ended with his life. 



370 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

The story of Lucy Chapin no relative of those mentioned is 
mentioned among the reminiscences of this period. A New Eng- 
land family, sensible, well-educated, and accustomed to all the ad- 
vantages found in long established communities, from a flaw in the 
deed securing their farm, found themselves suddenly homeless. One 
of the brothers, who had learned the carpenter's trade, went with 
his sister Lucy to Hamburg, near Buffalo, and purchased land, 
which he set about clearing to make a home for his mother and the 
rest of the family. He built a rough log hut, which was for some 
time without a window, the opening being closed when it was cold 
or stormy, and the room left in darkness. The brother was obliged 
to work out at his trade, for means to cany on improvements at his 
own place, and meanwhile the sister was often left alone for three 
weeks at a time. She became so nervously sensitive, that the 
slightest noise would alarm her, and but for a determined spirit, 
and her brother's cheerful temperament, she thought her reason 
would have given way. On one occasion, a weary old man called 
at the house to ask for a cup of water ; Lucy, terrified she knew 
not at what, ran off, and was found by her brother on his return 
after one of his long absences, sitting on a stump weeping. He 
encouraged her, and both returned home, where they found the 
stranger waiting quietly. Their neighbors lived at a considerable 
distance, and were all poor and illiterate ; they found no congenial 
society, avoided all association with others except what neces- 
sity and civility required, and led a life of hermit-like seclusion, 
Lucy assisting to provide necessaries by sewing whenever she could 
get any work to do. It was not long before a family by the name 
of Russell, agreeable, intelligent, and kind-hearted, came to live in 
their vicinity ; they had been banished by change of fortune from 
their early home, but were cultivated, and had books, and their 
arrival was joyfully welcomed by the emigrants. Miss Chapin 
afterwards kept house in Buffalo for her brother Roswell, who was 
engaged in the practice of law, and many anecdotes are told of her 
economy, industry, and ingenuity. She described, among her ex- 
periences in the backwoods, her sufferings during an illness when 



ANECDOTES. 371 

the snow-wreaths often lay upon the coverlet of her bed ; their only 
security for the door, till it could be hung, being to push the wash- 
tub against it. She would never allow her friends at home in New 
England to know the trials she endured. " They can never know 
the half," she used to say. The loneliness, anxieties, and hardships 
she suffered so long, seriously impaired her health in after life. 

An anecdote illustrative of female quickness of apprehension 
and presence of mind, is related of the housekeeper of Gen. Porter, 
at Black Eock. Early one morning, before the General had risen, a 
party of Indians in the British service, who had crossed from the 
Canada side, came to the door, demanding to see him. The house- 
keeper, without betraying the least surprise or alarm, informed 
them that the General had just gone up to Buffalo, pointing to the 
road which led thither by the most circuitous course, As the 
savages hurried away, in hopes of overtaking the object of their 
pursuit, she gave the alarm to the General, who lost no time in 
mounting his horse and riding by the shortest way to the town, 
where he arrived in time to make preparation for the enemy. 

Mr. Turner relates a story of " a night with the wolves," which is 
worth mentioning as an incident of pioneer life. One of the early 
settlers of Niagara County had just finished building a log hut the 
door only wanting in the woods, for the occupancy of his family. 
It was so far to go to mill, that when it was necessary to fetch a 
supply of flour, he was always obliged to be a night away from 
home. One night, in his absence, the wife heard wolves snarling 
just at the door, which was only defended by a blanket. Terrified 
for the safety of her young children, she forgot all fears for herself, 
and stood with axe in hand at the opening, keeping guard during 
the long hours of that night, till the howling died away in the dis- 
tance, and she was satisfied the fierce creatures would return no 
more. 

"The early settlers in Farmershill, Cataraugus, drew up a code 
of rules for their mutual advantage, from which the following 
curious section is extracted: * If any single woman over fourteen 
years of age shall come to reside in our village, and no one of this 



372 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

confederacy shall offer her his company within a fortnight thereafter, 
then in such case our board shall be called together, and some one 
shall be appointed to make her a visit, whose duty it shall be to 
perform the same, or forfeit the approbation of the company and 
pay a fine sufficiently large to buy the lady thus neglected a new 
dress.' Few towns," continues Turner, " in the Purchase have been 
more prosperous ; and it is quite likely that this early regulation 
aided essentially in the work of founding a new settlement and 
speeding its progress 

As an offset to the above, the same writer gives an account of a 
bachelor's settlement in Orleans County, which, as might be ex- 
pected, turned out a failure. A cotemporary says : " They began 
in a year or two to go east and get them wives." This broke 
up the establishment, and most of its bachelor founders became 
Benedicts and heads of families. 

" By perseverance I succeeded early one morning in getting to 
the old burial place of the Senecas. The Indian church- now 
used as a stable, with hay protruding from the windows and ma- 
nure heaps outside arrested my attention, and I stopped opposite 
the lane leading from the main road to the spot I sought. At the 
end of this lane, leaping over a broken rail fence, and following a 
little foot-path running by the side of a potato patch, a few steps 
brought me to one of the most beautiful and quiet nooks in the 
world ; a pleasant opening, rather more elevated than the rest of 
the field with which it was enclosed, and shaded here and there by 
large oaks, the branches of which were now swaying in the wind, 
and sighing a requiem to the memory of the red man. Graves 
were thickly sown around some marked by boards, others only by 
the swelling of the turf. There were four marble slabs ; two in a 
picketed enclosure were monuments of white children ; one of the 
daughter of a clergyman, probably the local missionary. The 
most prominent, which was not enclosed, bore the inscription, ' In 
memory of the white woman, Mary Jemison, daughter of Thomas 
Jemison and Jane Irwin, bom on the ocean between Ireland and 
Philadelphia in 1 742 or '3, taken captive at Marsh Creek, Pa. in 



MKS. ANDEKSON. 373 

1755, carried down the Ohio, adopted into an Indian family in 
1759, removed to Genesee River, naturalized in 1817, removed to 
this place in 1831. Having survived two husbands and five chil- 
dren, leaving three still alive, she died Sept. 19th, 1833, aged about 
ninety- one years, having a few weeks before expressed a hope of 
pardon, etc.' A little beyond Mary Jemison's grave, was that of 
Red Jacket, the celebrated orator and chief." The stone was much 
mutilated, being broken off so as to deface the inscription. 



MRS. ANDERSON, whose house was visited by depredators, 
boldly faced them for the protection of her property. Seating her- 
self on a trunk they were about to carry off, she told them they 
might shoot her, but should never possess it while she lived. The 
Indians, with a significant " ugh" left her, saying she was too much 
of a man to be robbed. One of the early settlers in Plymouth, 
Wayne County, Michigan, showed a more timid spirit and fared 
worse, it being her practice at first to yield implicitly to their 
demands. Once she was compelled to hand out of the oven the 
rolls she had just baked for supper. One evening, her husband 
having gone to a neighbor's a quarter of a mile distant, her child 
lying asleep in the bed, and she occupied in sewing, the door was 
softly opened, and an Indian entered, "with the stealthy tread 
peculiar to the moccasined foot." He made signs that he wanted 
whiskey. After going around the house as if in search of the article, 
followed by the savage, she took up her child, and making him 
understand that it was to be had at the neighbor's house, motioned 
him to follow her, and walked the whole distance through the woods 
with him to the place of safety, where she arrived breathless with 
terror and agitation. 



374 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

ELIZA BULL, afterwards Mrs. Sinclair, visited the capital of Wis- 
consin in. 1846 or '47, and describes the country as very new, and 
the society extremely limited. The scenery of the locality was wild 
and picturesque, and from the window of her room at the inn Mrs. 
Bull could frequently see as many as thirty-six prairie fowls going 
to roost in a single tree. Every evening in the winter the sound of 
men stunning fish by striking on the ice was plainly to be heard. 
One large room in the capitol was appropriated to public gatherings 
of all descriptions, and. in the course of a single week would be used 
for dancing assemblies, public lectures, funeral services, and preach- 
ing by the Methodist congregation. At the balls, the belle of the 
company was usually the chambermaid of the tavern which was the 
place of entertainment, a young lady of ash-colored complexion, and 
Jocks of similar hue, whose fairy feet were graced with red morocco 
boots. The party was often enlivened by the presence of members 
of the legislature. These, with a respectable attendance of their 
constituents, shuffled around the room with great energy, having 
cigars in their mouths, and for the most part wearing their hats. 
If their boots or shoes were found inconvenient in their Terpsicho- 
rean evolutions, they were kicked off without ceremony, and the 
figures completed in stocking-feet. When supper was ready, the 
company rushed pell-mell through a dark passage to the " pro- 
vender," on which they fell to work without mincing. 

Near Madison are four small lakes, beside one of which, on 
" Sauk Prairie," then quite removed from the neighborhood of 
civilized residents, stood the dwelling of an Austrian named Haraz- 
thy. He was said to be a count, and his wife's manners indicated 
that they had been accustomed to cultivated society. It was 
rumored that his voluntary banishment from his country had been 
caused by political difficulties, and that he wished to seclude himself 
from the sight and society of men, having been made misanthropic 
by disappointed ambition. His father who was called a general, 
and always wore his military dress, came out with the family. The 
elder Mi's. Harazthy did not long survive her removal, but died of 
very home sickness. The younger used to relate how many years 



MRS. HARAZTHY. 375 

before, a gipsey fortune-teller had foretold that they would remove to 
a far country, and that the count's mother would die in their new 
home. Mrs. Sinclair described this foreigner as a fine, tali and 
" rosy-faced" woman, with yery pleasing manners, and conversation 
made the more interesting by her foreign accent and imperfect com- 
mand of English. For months after her removal she refused to 
receive visitors, but often at twilight would sit at her window look- 
ing out upon the wild and strange scenery, watching sometimes 
whole droves of wolves coming down to the lake to drink. Her 
family was once startled in the night by piercing cries, and found 
at their door a poor woman with a child in her arms ; she had been 
terrified by what she took for signs of a meditated Indian attack, 
and had run twelve miles barefoot through the snow to seek protec- 
tion, her husband being absent. Her alarm proved groundless, but 
she had endured as much as if flying from a troop of enemies. The 
Austrian mentioned kept a variety store for the Indians and the 
few settlers who lived in that portion of country. His log dwelling- 
house was picturesquely situated on the margin of the lake and the 
forest. 






XXII. 

MARY ANN RUMSEY. 

THE perils and privations incident to the occupation of the' lands 
in Michigan by the first settlers were not, indeed, so terrible or so 
romantic as those encountered at an earlier period, when the adven- 
turous few who penetrated the wilderness were exposed to the fury 
of a savage foe, and assaults far more to be dreaded than those of 
the wild beasts of the forest. Yet the later pioneers, if they had 
not to dispute the possession of the soil at the risk of their lives, 
had their trials and sufferings their dangers too not the less dif- 
ficult to endure because the narration is rather amusing than thril- 
ling. They had also to struggle with that feeling of isolation and 
loneliness which presses heavily on those who have severed all the 
endearing ties of home, where cluster those fond attachments only 
formed in youth. Many a sad hour was passed in remembrance 
and regret by the young wife in the absence of her husband, when 
she had no sympathizing friend in whose bosom she could pour her 
griefs. Little given to repining as she might be, faithful to her 
duties, and disposed to make the best of everything, still thoughts 
of the loved ones from whom she had parted for life would weigh 
on her spirits, and fill her eyes with tears, brushed hastily away 
while she busied herself about her household employments. A 
touching instance of the heart's yearning for companionship occurs 



MARY ANN RtrMSTre. 377 



to memoiy, mentioned by one of the female pioneers, who had 
bfpn three weeks in their new home without having seen the face 
of another womar. " One Sunday," she said, " I told my husband 
that beyond the thick wood, just in the rear of our dwelling, I could 
see from the upper window another log house. I wanted him to 
go there with me ; we went, and as we approached I saw the 
woman come out, appearing to be busy about something at the 
back door. That was enough ; I did not care to go any further ; 
we went home ; I had seen her. and that satisfied me." 

Ann Arbor is the county seat of Washtenaw Count} 7 . The In- 
dian name, Washtenong, signifies " grand" or " beautiful," and Grand 
River takes its name from the same word. Tt was called "Arbor," 
on account of the noble aspect of the original site of the village, 
which was a burr oak opening, resembling an arbor laid out and 
cultivated by the hand of taste. For the prefix of " Ann," it was 
indebted, according to undeniable tradition, to two prominent 
women whose husbands were the first purchasers and settlers in the 
vicinity. Some have maintained that the place owed its entire 
name to them, from the fact that they lived, until houses could be 
built, in a kind of rude arbor made by poles covered with boughs. 
However that may be, it is certain that John Allen and Walter 
Rumsey gave the name to the new settlement, afterwards confirmed 
by State authority, and ever since retained. Their first garden was 
the ground now occupied as the public square ; and here Allen, 
who had considerable skill in these matters, planted and raised a 
fine stock of vegetables, enabling them to supply the neighbors 
whom their persuasions had induced to join their little community. 
The two leaders above mentioned came in February, 1824, Rum- 
sey being accompanied by his wife. This couple emigrated from 
some part of the State of New York, which has furnished so many 
enterprising families among the inhabitants of Michigan. Some of 
the New England stock, who were a little proud of their land of 
the pilgrims, were accustomed to say they "had stopped some years 
in the Stale of New York on their way to the West." 

The arbor, or tent, which formed the first shelter for this liltlo 



378 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

party, and served them as such for two weeks, was made of their 
sleigh-box, with a rag carpet spread over boughs of trees, which 
were of course denuded of leaves ; for there grew not an ever- 
green within miles, except a few cedars on a hill some two miles 
from the locality. They had brought with them a few barrels of 
provisions ; and as there were no regular roads all the way to 
Detroit, and the travelling was tedious and difficult, they lost no 
time in making a treaty with the roving Indians, who agreed to 
furnish them with regular supplies of corn and venison. On this 
they subsisted while they industriously prepared the ground and 
planted grain and vegetables to serve them for the coming summer 
and winter. " Ann Arbor" had been the favorite dancing ground 
of the Pottawattomies, many families of whom lived in the neigh- 
borhood. Their place of council was in the light " opening" 
selected by Allen for his garden, on which at this time there was 
scarcely a tree. Those that how adorn the square, have been since 
planted ; most of them more than ten years afterwards. 

The visits of the Indians were peaceable enough, and generally 
welcome, for they brought deer and wild turkeys to exchange for 
other articles, game being then abundant in the woods. Some- 
times, indeed, when they found none but women at home, they 
showed themselves a little disposed to encroach upon hospitality. 
Mrs. Rumsey confessed being frightened at one time by their wild 
behavior ; but assuming a stern and commanding air, she bade 
them begone, flourishing a broom at the same time ; and though 
they could not ha^e been said to be afraid of her weapon, they did not 
hesitate to obey. All the cotemporaries of Mrs. Rumsey agree in 
describing her as a woman of remarkable beauty and distinguished 
appearance, and of energetic character, singularly fitted to be a 
useful pioneer in a new country where difficulties and discourage- 
ments must be met with unflinching courage, fortitude, and patient 
perseverance. Her commanding aspect whether natural or the 
result of a habit of being foremost in enterprise was well suited 
to her qualities of determination and strength of purpose. Her 
cheerful disposition, disregard of hardships, and resolute way of 



MARY ANN KTJMSEY. 379 

" making the best of everything," have often been mentioned with 
admiration. " When we had been out land-hunting," said Mr. 
Allen, " or otherwise engaged through the day, so that we returned 
late and tired out, she was always ready for us with good humor 
and a good supper" By such aid and encouragement is it that 
woman a true help-meet can hold up man's hands and 
strengthen his heart when disquieted by care and vexation. To be 
enabled to appreciate the worth of such a household companion, 
one must have spent a year at least in the backwoods. Experience 
and necessity here furnished the best kind of education, fitting for 
the endurance of every trial, and the thorough enjoyment of the 
labor-bought pleasures which are relished most keenly when alter- 
nated with privations. 

In the course of a few months other families moved into the 
neighborhood; and on the succeeding Fourth of July (1824), there 
was a joyous celebration of the nation's birthday. The anniversary 
falling on a Sunday, it was kept on Monday, having been celebrated 
the Saturday before at " Woodruffs Grove," near the site of the 
present village of Ypsilanti. About forty guests, among whom 
were the women of course, sat down to partake of the rustic dinner. 
It was either on this occasion, or on the anniversary following, cele- 
brated also at Ann Arbor, that the family of Mr. White, one of the 
" neighbors," were put to much inconvenience by the escape of their 
oxen ; which calamity imposed on them the necessity of walking 
home in terror, for the distant howling of wolves could be heard all 
the way. At the assemblage on the Fourth of July, 1825, tho 
white inhabitants of the county were present in mass forty or fifty 
in all. 

The howling of wolves was a species of nocturnal music often 
listened to by the pioneers of Michigan. A lady who removed 
there many years later, says that on moonlight evenings they 
often stood to hear their howling, some three miles distant, answered 
by the barking of their dogs. The sound was distinct, and ap- 
peared to be much nearer. In the early settlement of the country, 
a woman going one day to the spring for water, saw, as she sup- 



380 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

posed, the dog belonging to the family drinking, and finding 
that he did not get out of the way as she came up, struck him 
with her pail, which she then filled and carried back to the house. 
There she saw the dog lying quietly under the bed, and a sudden 
flash of recollection convinced her that she had seen a wolf at the 
spring. She roused the men, and the animal was pursued and 
killed. Notwithstanding the cowardice of. the gray wolf, it was 
always, especially in packs, a terror to the women of the country. 
Other wild beasts were disposed to dispute with man the possession 
,of their forest domain. A young woman in Livingston County, 
standing one day outside her " shanty," fancied she heard a crack- 
ling in the boughs of the tree above her, and looking up, caught 
the eyes of a panther glaring upon her, as the animal was prepar- 
ing for a fatal spring. With a presence of mind which the habit 
of looking danger in the face alone could give, she stepped cau- 
tiously backward, still keeping her eyes steadily fixed on the crea- 
ture, and slipping behind the blanket which served for a door, took 
down her husband's rifle, which was kept loaded and ready for use. 
Lifting a corner of the blanket, she deliberately took aim and fired ; 
the shot took effect, and the panther fell to the ground in the death- 
struggle. 

In the eyes of her neighbors, Mrs. Eumsey was a prominent 
female member of the community ; for such qualities of mind, in a 
primitive state of society, never fail to exercise a controlling influ- 
ence. Something of romance, too, was added to the interest sur- 
rounding her. It was said though it might have been mere 
gossip that her early life had been clouded by unhappiness con- 
sequent upon an ill-assorted marriage, and that she had little to 
i*egret in the years passed in her former home. Little was known 
of her story, for she never showed herself inclined to be communi- 
cative on the subject, and the intuitive delicacy of her associates for- 
bade their scrutiny into what plainly did not concern them. Those 
were not the days withal when news travelled on the wings of the 
wind, or with the flash of the lightning ; and if there had been 
aught in the experience of former years which she did not wish to 



MAKY ANN RUMSEY. 381 

recall, Mrs. Rumsey was in no danger of having it snatched from 
the friendly keeping of the past, and paraded before the curious 
gaze of the public. So the mystery about her remained unfathom- 
ed, as she did not choose to explain it. Her circumstances at that 
time were comfortable, and happy in her round of duties, it did 
not appear that she suffered her thoughts to dwell on the past, 
though once, in a moment of great distress, on the occasion of the 
sudden death of a beloved child, she let fall expressions which set 
afloat the conjectures of her neighbors, and awakened curiosity 
which was never fully satisfied. She was not, however, the less 
respected on that account. In the first stages of society, when no 
artificial distinctions are recognized, and social intercourse is unre- 
stricted by form, the standing of individuals is seldom questioned 
if they prove useful and agreeable. Mr. Rumsey died at Ann 
Arbor, and his widow afterwards married a Mr. Van Fossen, and 
removed to Indiana, where she died. 

The first sleighs used by these primitive settlers were made by 
bending two poles, which served for runners, a crate for the box 
surmounting them. The large double sleigh was an improvement 
pertaining to a more advanced stage. Before grain could be raised 
it was often necessary, notwithstanding the aid of their Indian allies, 
to go to Detroit to procure flour a journey which usually con- 
sumed a week. Whenever it had to be performed, the labor of 
every man in the settlement was in requisition to put the roads in 
order. In one case, when the head of a family was detained two or 
three weeks by some accident at the mill, the wife dug ground-nuts 
and picked up every other edible thing that could furnish food for 
herself and children. Another woman who was reduced to her last 
biscuit, declared laughingly that she would not have it said they 
ever were out of bread in her western home, and had the biscuit 
placed every day on the table for a fortnight, till new supplies came. 
Game, particularly venison, was plenty in those days, and some of 
the settlers, who were excellent hunters, killed enough for the use 
of their families and for the demands of hospitality. 



382 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

The second " Ann," who gave the village of Ann Arbor its name, 
came to Michigan in October, 1824, with the parents of her hus- 
band, and his brother, James Turner Allen, who has ever since re- 
sided there and 'raised a large family. The Aliens were from 
Augusta county in Virginia, and well to do in the world ; they 
brought several horses and other stock with them, a useful accession 
to the means of the little settlement. The women performed 
nearly all the journey on horseback, Ann Allen carrying her infant 
child in her arms. This child is now the wife of Dr. Waddell, arid 
is living in Virginia. Mrs. Allen entered with a ready spirit of 
enterprise into the laborious duties required of the wife of a settler. 
As the community increased, her husband was called to fill official 
stations of importance. He was afterwards twice elected Senator to 
the legislature, but the roving habits of his early life, like those of 
Daniel Boone, were in the way of his living contented in a settle- 
ment that could no longer be termed " wild," when lands further 
west were yet unexplored. He went to California when the gold 
fever was at its height, and died there. 

His widow returned to Virginia. Her bearing and manners were 
those of a well-bred lady ; uniformly gentle and quiet, and marked 
by the ease and refinement which evince habitual acquaintance with 
good society. Her maiden name was Barry ; she was left an orphan 
at an early age, and sent to Ireland to be reared under the care of 
a maiden aunt. Her education was completed at Baltimore, under 
the charge of her maternal uncle, Mr. Keim. She was quite an 
heiress, and was married first to Dr. McCue, of Virginia. Her 
many admirable qualities and winning traits of character, are 
remembered by all her former neighbors in the village. 

Elizabeth Allen, her mother-in-law, still lives at Ann Arbor. 
The character of this excellent matron, who is often described as the 
ideal of a pioneer, is so remarkable as to call for a brief notice. 
Coming so early to the backwoods, she had to encounter not a few 
dangers as well as inconveniencies from the frequent visits of 
savages, as yet not used to the sight of civilization. In her youth 
she was eminently handsome, and even at the age of seventy-six 



ELIZABETH ALLEN. 383 

retains a most prepossessing appearance, having a tall and symme- 
trical figure, but slightly bent, with a complexion showing the 
freshness of habitual health. Hers was a proud and happy bridal 
in the Old Dominion, and she was fondly attached to the country 
where her best years had been spent *, but she murmured not when 
it became her duty to follow her husband to a distant land. He 
now lies buried near the spot he chose for his home, with many 
relatives around him ; and by the widow's direction, a place beside 
him is reserved for her. Her religious faith, always sound and 
bright for she had made it the staff and guide of life has been 
strengthened by the chastening sorrow she has been called to 
endure ; and the humility with which she has submitted to every 
painful dispensation, offers a salutary lesson both to the afflicted and 
the prosperous. She has always been noted for the strong practical 
sense which fits its possessor for every event and vicissitude, in every 
station of life ; yet is her heart open and kind, her benevolent im- 
pulses withal being regulated at all times by sterling judgment. 
She is one of those persons of whom it can be said, " Place her in 
any situation, and she will appear well." 

In her reminiscences of those early days, Mrs. Allen often speaks 
of two young women in particular, who did much to enliven the 
society of the place. One of them, Miss Hopy Johnson, undertook 
the charge of the school kept in a small log house, to which she 
was frequently obliged to walk quite a distance from down the river. 
The exposure in all weathers, and with but indifferent protection 
against the cold and wet, injured her health, and one evening she 
informed the school she should not be able to teach any longer. 
James, one of Mrs. Allen's grandchildren, then under her care, came 
running home, so out of breath that he could hardly speak, and 
entreated his grandmamma to take the teacher to live in her house. 
She promised to decide after consulting her husband, who was then 
busily engaged in making " Michigan bedsteads" of tamarack poles 
stripped of the bark. Plenty of beds had been brought from Vir- 
ginia ; but some arrangement might be necessary for the accommo- 
dation of another inmate. However, the child's entreaty was so 



384: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE \VEST. 

urgent for an answer before Miss Johnson should have dismissed 
her pupils and gone home, that his grandmother bade him " tell 
her she may come and take us as she finds us." He ran back 
delighted, and presently returned with the teacher, so grateful for 
the offer of a home which enabled her to continue her beloved occu- 
pation, that when the little boy led her in with " Grandmamma, 
here is Miss Johnson," she sank upon a seat and wept for joy. This 
little incident throws an interesting light on the manners of that 
day. When asked how they enjoyed life in the privation of so 
many comforts and of the society of old friends, Mrs. Allen would 
reply : " We were all brothers and sisters then. When my son 
Turner was married, he said, ' You have always given the other 
children a good wedding ; I want you to do as well by me ; ? and so 
we invited everybody in the village, and had as good a supper as 
could be got up." 

True to the habits of a matron of the olden time, Mrs. Allen has 
always shown a delicate sense of propriety in her deportment and 
conversation. She looks back with some pride to the days of her 
bellehood, and speaks occasionally of the sixteen offers received before 
she was eighteen ; but with her characteristic regard for decorum, tells 
of the reproof she once administered to one over forward suitor. In 
the mountainous parts of Virginia, where carriages were but little 
used, the men and women were. accustomed to travel altogether on 
horseback. Miss Tate (afterwards Mrs. Allen) was one day in at- 
tendance at a funeral, after the conclusion of which the newly 
bereaved widower rode up to the side of her horse, and to her 
extreme surprise, expressed a wish that she might be induced to con- 
sent to fill the place of the dear departed one whose mortal remains 
had just been laid in the grave. The young lady regarded him 
with astonishment and displeasure, and sternly forbade him to name 
that subject to her again under a year. Just a year from that day 
he proposed in due form, and was rejected ! 

Mrs. Allen is accustomed to express herself at all times in a man- 
ner so forcible and decisive, and at the same time with so much dig- 
nity, as to evince talent of no ordinary kind. Frequently her 



ELIZABETH ALLEN. 385 

language rises almost to the poetical, without the least design 
of ornamental expression. Speaking of a grandchild who was 
extremely cold in her manner, she said, " I loved her much, that is, 
all she would let me get at to love." At another time, when a 
young mother, showing her little daughter, apologized for the dirt 
on her hands, as she had been playing in a sand heap, the 
matron replied, " It will do her no harm ; there is always rain 
enough in the heavens to wash such clean ;" thus unconsciously 
using a phrase nearly identical with the words of Shakspeare, a poet 
with whom she was by no means familiar. Being once asked if she 
had not reared a large family, she answered, " Oh, no, I have only 
had seven children. I laid out to have no less than a dozen ; but the 
grandchildren left motherless whom I have brought up, perhaps 
make out the number." She has reared five of these, and has lived 
to see the third generation. 

There was a single piano in the settlement, owned by a Miss 
Clark, now Mrs. Kingsley ; and seldom did she touch the keys 
without unexpected listeners. Often, as a shadow darkened the 
window, could she observe the form of a Pottawattomie Indian, ac- 
companied perhaps by two or three squaws with their papooses. 
This patriarch of pianos is still extant, and stands as prim as ever 
upon its thin legs, a type amongst the scores that have succeeded it, 
of a bygone age, and representing something of the stately polite- 
ness and formal breeding of the ladies and gentlemen of its own 
date. 

Some, with an obstinately rustic taste, seemed to prefer the rudest 
articles of furniture used in the infancy of the settlement, to 
the modern improvements afterwards introduced. A housewife in 
Michigan, finding the men of her establishment too busy clearing to 
lend her much aid, set about contriving a press in which she could 
make cheese. She succeeded in making one in the corner of a rail 
fence ; and it was observed that, thrifty as she was, she could not 
be induced without great reluctance, to exchange this press of 
her own contrivance for one of more pretension, though adopted 
and praised by all her neighbors. 
17 



386 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Among the privations of the early settlers, not the least was the 
difficulty of hearing from the friends they had left at " the East." 
Not only were the mails slow and uncertain, but the postage 
of a letter was twenty-five cents ; a fourth of a man's pay for a hard 
day's work. So expensive a treat could not be often indulge! in, 
and accordingly it seldom happened that more than one or two 
letters were exchanged in the course of a 'year by a single emi- 
grant family. 

The burning of the marshes often running far into the upland, 
which was done every year by the Indians and old hunters, 
was sometimes attended by accidents, the fire extending to the open- 
ing and overrunning the land to the destruction of oak-grubs 
and tall trees. An enterprising ancLindustrious young emigrant had 
built a comfortable house in a pleasant opening for himself 
and his sisters, one of whom had charge of it. One day while she 
was alone, the brother being absent on business, she discovered that 
the grass was on fire, and that the devouring element was rapidly 
approaching. All her efforts were bent to keep it from the premises ; 
but finding she could do nothing to check its progress, and that the 
outhouses were in imminent danger, she ran to the door of 
her dwelling for her bonnet, threw in her apron which she 
pulled off hastily from a woman's instinctive impulse of neatness, 
and without looking back, hurried to the nearest neighbor's, 
some three miles off, for assistance. As soon as possible she 
returned with help ; but they were greeted by a melancholy sight. 
The burning of the grass, it was evident, had not expended to the 
house ; but the building was in flames, and past' the hope of saving 
even an article of furniture. The poor girl then discovered that the 
fire must have originated from her apron, which probably concealed 
a spark when she threw it in ; and thus she had the chagrin of 
knowing that her very eagerness had been the means of depriving 
herself and family of the only shelter they could call their own. 

The mention of fire reminds us of another curious anecdote 
recorded in the annals of Detroit. There was at one time a town 
ordinance that every house should be provided with a butt of water 



ANECDOTES. 387 

for use in case of fire, the owner being subject to a fine in case of dis- 
obedience. A widow whose neglect had been passed over several 
times by the inspectors, one day saw them coining on their usual 
errand, and resolved that they should not have it to say they 
had found her cask empty, jumped into it herself. The stratagem 
so pleased the men that, laughing heartily, they fetched water and 
filled the butt for her. 

Some other incidents illustrative of the times, are mentioned by 
the old settlers. One tells how a large sleighing party went at night 
to Dexter, and how Judge Dexter figured as a seer, and told the 
fortunes of the company. They were very merry returning, though 
it was near morning, and intensely cold. A sudden breakdown 
took place, and one of the gentlemen was obliged to go back some 
distance to borrow an axe to repair the damage. Those left waiting, 
fearing that without some precaution they should perish with cold, 
spread the buffalo skins on the hard snow, and had a lively 
dance upon them ; till the sleigh being mended, they returned to 
Ann Arbor without further hindrance. 

The inhabitants of Detroit may remember a remarkable old 
woman, Mi's. Ohappel by name, a true " Betty O'Flanagan," 
who followed in the rear of Wayne's army, and afterwards kept push- 
ing away from civilization. At the time my informant knew her, 
she kept a small tavern on the Pontiac turnpike, much resorted to 
by the young men of the town, it- being just distant enough for a 
pleasant ride. As the hostess was very homely, they were ac- 
customed to call her in jest " Old Mother Handsome ;" listening 
often to the reminiscences with which she was wont to interlard her 
preparations for supper. When grumbling at the trouble given her, 
she would declare that she should have been better off had " Mad 
Anthony" lived. She would have been a fine character for a 
romance, and deserves more than a mere mention, as a representative 
of the spirit of her day among the ruder class of settlers. 



XXIII. 

HARRIET L. NOBLE. 

IN 1824 there was almost as great an excitement in Western New 
York about going to Michigan as there has been recently in regard 
to California. One of those enterprising settlers, the wife of Nathaniel 
Noble, has favored me with some of her recollections, which present 
a graphic picture of early times in this State. No language could 
be so appropriate as her own. 

" My husband was seized with the mania, and accordingly made 
preparation to start in January with his brother. They took the 
Ohio route, and were nearly a month in getting through ; coming by 
way of Monroe, and thence to Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Mr. John 
Allen and Walter Rumsey with his wife and two men had been 
there some four or five weeks, had built a small house, moved into 
it the day my husband and his brother arrived, and were just pre- 
paring their first meal, which the newcomers had the pleasure 
of partaking. They spent a few days here, located a farm a little 
above the town on the river Huron, and returned through Canada. 
They had been so much pleased with the country, that they imme- 
diately commenced preparing to emigrate ; and as near as I can 
recollect, we started about the 20th of September, 1824, for 
Michigan. We travelled from our house in Geneva to Buffalo in 
wagons. The roads were bad, and we were obliged to wait in 



HARRIET L. NOBLE. 389 

Buffalo four days for a boat, as the steamboat * Michigan' was the 
only one on the lake. After waiting so long we found she had put 
into Erie for repairs, and had no prospect of being able to run again 
for some time. The next step was to take passage in a schooner, 
which was considered a terrible undertaking for so dangerous a 
voyage as it was then thought to be. At length we went on board 
1 the Prudence,' of Cleveland, Capt. Johnson. A more inconve- 
nient little bark could not well be imagined. We were seven days 
on Lake Erie, and so entirely prostrated with seasickness, as 
scarcely to be able to attend to the wants of our little ones. I had 
a little girl of three years, and a babe some months old, and 
Sister Noble had six children, one an infant. It was a tedious 
voyage ; the lake was very rough most of the time, and I thought 
if we were only on land again, I should be satisfied, if it was a 
wilderness. I could not then realize what it would be to live with- 
out a comfortable house through the winter, but sad experience 
afterwards taught me a lesson not to be forgotten. 

" We came into the Detroit river ; it was beautiful then as now; 
on the Canada s'nle, in particular, you will scarce perceive any 
change. As we approached Detroit, the ' Cantonment' with the 
American flag floating on its walls, was decidedly the most interest- 
ing of any part of the town ; for a city it was certainly the most 
filthy, irregular place I had ever seen ; the streets were filled with 
Indians and low French, and at that time I could not tell the difference 
between them. We spent two days in making preparations for 
going out to Ann Arbor, and during that time I never saw a gen- 
teelly-dressed person in the streets. There were no carriages ; the 
most wealthy families rode in French carts, sitting on the bottom 
upon some kind of mat ; and the streets were so muddy these were 
the only vehicles convenient for getting about. I said to myself, ' if 
this be a Western city, give me a home in the woods.' I think it 
was on the 3d of October we started from Detroit, with a pair of 
oxen and a wagon, a few articles for cooking, and such necessaries 
as we could not do without. It was necessary* that they should be 
few as possible, for our families were a full load for this mode of 



390 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

travelling. After travelling all day we found ourselves but ten 
miles from Detroit (at what is now Dearborn) ; here we spent the 
night at a kind of tavern, the only one west of the city. Our lodg- 
ing was the floor, and the other entertainment was to match. The 
next day we set out as early as possible, in hopes to get through 
the woods before dark, but night found us about half way through, 
and there remained no other resource but to camp out, and make 
ourselves contented. The men built a large fire and prepared our 
supper. My sister and myself could assist but little, so fatigued 
were we with walking and carrying our infants. There were fifteen 
in our company. Two gentlemen going to Ypsilanti had travelled 
with us from Buffalo ; the rest were our own families. We were 
all pretty cheerful, until we began to think of lying down for the 
night. The men did not seem to dread it, however, and were soon fast 
asleep, but sleep was not for me in such a wilderness. I could 
think of nothing but wild beasts, or something as bad ; so that I had 
the pleasure of watching while the others slept. It seemed a long, 
long night, and never in my life did I feel more grateful for the 
blessing of returning day. We started again as early as possible, 
all who could walk moving on a little in advance of the wagon ; the 
small children were the only ones who thought of riding. Every 
few rods it would take two or three men to pry the wagon out of 
the mud, while those who walked were obliged to force their way over 
fallen timber, brush, &c. Thus passed the day ; at night we found 
ourselves on the plains, three miles from Ypsilanti. My feet were 
so swollen I could walk no further. We got into the wagon and 
rode as far as Woodruff's grove, a little below Ypsilanti. There 
were some four or five families at this place. The next day we left 
for Ann Arbor. We were delighted with the country before us ; it 
was beautiful in its natural state ; and I have sometimes thought 
that cultivation has marred its loveliness. Where Ypsilanti now* 
stands, there was but one building an old trading-house on the 
west side of the river ; the situation was fine there were scattering 
oaks and no brushwood. Here we met a large number of Indians ; 
and one old squaw followed us some distance with her papoose, 



HARRIET L. NOBLE. 391 

determined to swap babies. At last she gave it up, and for one I 
felt relieved. 

" We passed two log houses between this and Ann Arbor. 
About the middle of the afternoon we found ourselves at our jour- 
ney's end but what a prospect ? There were some six or seven log 
huts occupied by as many inmates as could be crowded into them. It 
was too much to think of asking strangers to give us a place to stay 
in even for one night under such circumstances. Mr. John Allen 
himself made us the offer of sharing with him the comfort of a 
shelter from storm, if not from cold. His house was large for a log 
one, but quite unfinished ; there was a ground floor and a small 
piece above. When we got our things stored in this place, we 
found the number sheltered to be twenty-one women and children, 
and fourteen men. There were but two bedsteads in the house, 
and those who could not occupy these, slept on feather beds upon 
the floor. When the children were put in bed you could not set a 
foot down without stepping on a foot or hand ; the consequence 
was we had music most of the time. 

" We cooked our meals in the open air, there being no fire in 
the house but a small box-stove. The fall winds were not very 
favorable to such business ; we would frequently find our clothes on 
fire, but fortunately we did not often get burned. When one meal 
was over, however, we dreaded preparing the next. We lived in 
this way until our husbands got a log house raised and the roof on ; 
this took them about six weeks, at the end of which time we went 
into it, without door, floor, chimney, or anything but logs and roof. 
There were no means of getting boards for a floor, as everything 
must be brought from Detroit, and we could not think of drawing 
lumber over such a road. The only alternative was to split slabs 
of oak with an axe. My husband was not a mechanic, but he man- 
aged to make a floor in this way that kept us from the ground. 
I was most anxious for a door, as the wolves would come about in 
the evening, and sometimes stay all night and keep up a serenade 
that would almost chill the blood in my veins. Of all noises I think 
the howling of wolves and the yell of Indians the most fearful ; at 



392 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

least it appeared so to me then, when I was not able to close the 
door against them. I had the greatest terror of Indians ; for I had 
never seen any before I came to Michigan but Oneidas, and they 
were very different, being partially civilized. 

" We had our house comfortable as such a rude building could 
be, by the first of February. It was a mild winter ; there was 
snow enough, to cover the ground only four days, a fortunate 
circumstance for us. We enjoyed uninterrupted health, but in the 
spring the ague with its accompaniments gave us a call, and by 
the middle of August there were but four out of fourteen who could 
call themselves well. We then fancied we were too near the river 
for health. We sold out and bought again ten miles west of Ann 
Arbor, a place which suited us better ; and just a year from the 
day we came to Ann Arbor, moved out of it to Dexter. There 
was one house here, Judge Dexter's ; he was building a saw- 
mill, and had a number of men at work at the time ; besides these 
there was not a white family west of Ann Arbor in Michigan terri- 
tory. Our log house was just raised, forming only the square log 
pen. Of course it did not look very inviting, but it was our home, 
and we must make the best of it. I helped to raise the rafters and 
put on the roof, but it was the last of November before our roof was 
completed. We were obliged to wait for the mill to run in order 
to get boards for making it. The doorway I had no means of 
closing except by hanging up a blanket, and frequently when I 
would raise it to step out, there would be two or three of our dusky 
neighbors peeping in to see what was there. It would always give 
me such a start, I could not suppress a scream, to which they would 
reply with l Ugh !' and a hearty laugh. They knew I was afraid, 
and liked to torment me. Sometimes they would throng the house 
and stay two or three hours. If I was alone they would help them- 
selves to what they liked. The only way in which I could restrain 
them at all, was to threaten that I would tell Cass ; he was governor 
of the territory, and they stood in great fear of him. At last we got 
a door. The next thing wanted was a chimney ; winter was close 
at hand and the stone was not drawn. I said to my husband, ' I 



HARRIET L. NOBLE. 393 

think I can drive the oxen and draw the stones, while you dig them 
from the ground and load them.' lie thought I could not, but 
consented to let me try. He loaded them on a kind of sled ; I 
drove to the house, rolled them off, and drove back for another load. 
I succeeded so well that we got enough in this way to build our 
chimney. My Husband and myself were four days building it. I 
suppose most of my lady friends would think a woman quite out of 
' her legitimate sphere' in turning mason, but I was not at all par- 
ticular what kind of labor I performed, so we were only comfortable 
and provided with the necessaries of life. Many times I had been 
obliged to lake my children, put on their cloaks, and sit on the 
south side of the house in the sun to keep them warm ; anything 
was preferable to smoke. When we had a chimney and floor, and 
a door to close up our little log cabin, I have often thought it the 
most comfortable little place that could possibly be built in so new 
a country ; and but for the want of provisions of almost every kind, 
we should have enjoyed it much. The roads had been so bad all 
the fall that we had waited until this time, and I think it was Decem- 
ber when my husband went to Detroit for supplies. Fifteen days 
were consumed in going and coming. We had been without flour for 
three weeks or more, and it was hard to manage with young child- 
ren thus. After being without bread three or four days, my little- 
boy, two years old, looked me in the face and said, 4 Ma, why 
don't you make bread ; don't you like it-? I do.' His innocent com- 
plaint brought forth the first tears I had shed in Michigan on account 
of any privations I had to suffer, and they'were about the last. I am 
not of a desponding disposition, nor often low-spirited, and having 
left New York- to make Michigan my home, I had no idea of going 
back, or being very unhappy. Yet the want of society, of church 
privileges, and in fact almost every thing that makes life desirable, 
would often make me sad in spite of all effort to the contrary. I 
had no ladies' society for one year after coming to Dexter, except 
that of sister Noble and a Mrs. Taylor, and was more lonely than 
either of them, my family being so small. 

" The winter passed rather gloomily, but when spring came, every- 
17* 



894 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

thing looked delightful. We thought our hardships nearly at an 
end, when early in the summer my husband was taken with the 
ague. He had not been sick at all the first year ; of course he must 
be acclimated. He had never suffered from, ague or fever of any 
kind before, and it was a severe trial for him, with so much to do 
and no help to be had. He would break the ague* and work for a 
few days, when it would return. In this way he made his garden, 
planted his corn, and thought he was quite well. About August 
he harvested his wheat and cut his hay, but could get no help to 
draw it, and was again taken with ague. I had it myself, and both 
my children. Sometimes we would all be ill at a time. Mr. Noble 
and I had it every other day. Ho was almost discouraged, and said 
he should have to sell his cattle or let them starve. I said to him, 
* to-morrow we shall neither of us have the ague, and I believe I 
can load and stack the hay, if my strength permits.' As soon as 
breakfast was over, I prepared to go into the meadow, where I 
loaded and stacked seven loads that day. The next day my hus- 
band had the ague more severely than common, but not so with 
me ; the exercise broke the chills, and I was able to assist him 
whenever he was well enough, until our hay was all secured. In 
the fall we had several added to our circle. We were more healthy 
then, and began to flatter ourselves that we could live very comfort- 
ably through the winter of 1826; but we were not destined to 
enjoy that blessing, for in November my husband had his left hand 
blown to pieces by the accidental discharge of a gun, which confined 
him to the house until April. The hay I had stacked during the 
summer I had to feed out to the cattle with my own hands in the 
winter, and often cut the wood for three days at a time. The logs 
which I alone rolled in, would surprise any one who has never been 
put to the test of necessity, which compels people to do what under 
other circumstances they would not have thought possible. This 
third winter in Michigan was decidedly the hardest I had yet en- 
countered. In the spring, Mr. Noble could go out by carrying his 
hand in a sling. He commenced ploughing to prepare for planting 
his corn. Being weak from his wound, the ague returned again, 



HARRIET L. NOBLE. 395 

but he worked every other day until his corn was planted. He then 
went to New York, came back In July, and brought a nephew with 
him, who relieved me from helping him in the work out of doors. 
Although 1 was obliged to stack the hay this third fall, I believe it 
was the last labor of the kind I ever performed. At this time we 
began to have quite a little society ; we were fortunate in having 
good neighbors, and for some years were almost like one family, our 
interests being the same, and envy, jealousy, and all bitter feelings 
unknown among us. We cannot speak so favorably of the present 
time. 

" When I look back upon my life, and see the ups and downs, the 
hardships and privations I have been called upon to endure, I feel 
no wish to be young again. I was in the prime of life when I came 
to Michigan only twenty-one," and my husband was thirty-three. 
Neither of us knew the reality of hardship. Could we have known 
what it was to be pioneers in a new country, we should never have 
had the courage to come ; but I am satisfied that with all the disad- 
vantages of raising a family in a new country, there is a consolation 
in knowing that our children are prepared to brave the ills of life, I 
believe, far better than they would have been had we never left New 
York." 

In view of the formidable journey described by Mrs. Noble from 
Detroit to Ypsilanti, it should be mentioned that it is thirty miles 
by railroad, and ten miles thence to Ann Arbor ; Dexter being still 
ten miles further. As a confirmation of her remark about the awe 
in which the Indians stood of Cass, an incident may be mentioned. 
One summer's day, accompanied by his negro man, he rode up, on 
his way from the West, to the door of one of the early settlers in 
this county, to get a draught of water from the well. As he was 
about going on, a party of a hundred Indians on their way from 
Detroit, stopped also, and began stacking their guns by the side of 
the house, evidently intending to make a long stay. The woman, 
who chanced to be alone, was very much frightened, and as the 
savages paid no attention to her request that they would go on, 
she begged Gov. Cass to interfere. He spoke a few words to them 



396 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

in their own language, and as soon as they knew him, they should- 
ered their weapons and were " marking off in double quick time." 

The old picturesque looking windmill on the American side of 
the Detroit river, is the one to which all the people in western 
Michigan, some thirty years ago, were obliged to come for their 
grinding. It is now dismantled of its wings, and the tower in a 
ruinous state. 

The lady whose narrative is quoted is, it will be acknowledged, 
" a pioneer indeed." She is, moreover, an interesting and charming 
woman, and admirable in all the relations she has filled. Her man- 
ner is described as being remarkably attractive, and her portraiture 
in conversation of the hardships and peculiarities of pioneer life, as 
being vivid and thrilling. " She talks with so much spirit," says 
one of her friends, " that I know she can make a more sprightly 
narrative than any I have read." Her children have prosp ered 
and are most highly respected, and neither they nor their descend- 
ants will be likely to forget how deeply they are indebted to a 
mother so enterprising and energetic, and so affectionately mindful 
of their interests. 



The village of Dixboro' in Washtenaw County, Michigan, was first 
laid out by Mr. Dix of Massachusetts, and was once somewhat flour- 
ishing, though now a miserable looking place, owning scarce a dwell- 
ing that is not in a state of dilapidation. The inhabitants are not 
remarkable for superstition ; yet it is curious to notice how strong is 
the current belief even to the present day, in an old ghost story. 
" To doubt it," says a resident, " is to offer a personal insult." The 
tale ran briefly thus : A new settler by the name of Van Wart, a 
relative of one of the captors of Andre, who had taken up his quar- 
ters in a house recently occupied by a widow then deceased, testified 
to the nocturnal visits of an apparition, whom the neighbors sup- 
posed to be no other than the woman's ghost. From what trans- 
pired during these visitations, it was supposed she had been murdered 



FRANCES TRASK. 397 

by her brother-in-law for the sake of concealing some crime com- 
mitted years before. The matter was made the subject of legal 
investigation, and Van Wart's testimony taken in full, under oath, 
by the magistrate before a jury. The grave was opened and the 
body examined to ascertain if her death had been caused by poison ; 
probably the only instance in this century at least of a corpse being 
disinterred upon the evidence of a ghost ! The appearance of the 
dead was startlingly like the description given by the ghost seer, who 
had never seen her living ; but nothing was found to justify con- 
demnation of the accused, who was accordingly released and left the 
country. The Scotch physician who attended the woman in her 
last illness, and was supposed to be implicated in the deed, also 
quitted the community. The old log house is still standing, with 
the room called Tophet, because appropriated to the use of the sick 
as a hospital now in a sadly tumbledown condition, but once the 
seat of cheerful hospitality. In the olden time, many a merry com- 
pany from Ann Arbor was wont to resort there, spending the even- 
ing in dancing and festivity. Ypsilanti and Dexter were also favor- 
ite places of resort for sleighing and pic-nic parties. The latter village 
was laid out by Judge Dexter, brother to the. celebrated lawyer of 
that name in Boston. 

Miss Frances Trask was a cousin of Mrs. Dix, and figured promi- 
nently at that day in the little community as a belle somewhat on 
the Amazon order. She had much talent, with a degree of cultiva- 
tion that caused her to be looked up to with respect as a person of 
unusual accomplishments ; she possessed, moreover, real worth and 
good qualities of heart ; but her eccentricities and unfeminine de- 
fiance of general opinion in many trifling matters, often- startled her 
quiet neighbors, and made it necessary for those who loved her most 
to defend her from censure. She was much admired by the men ; 
her piquancy of wit, force and decision of character, and a sort of 
happy audacity, setting off to advantage her personal attractions. 
Yet she was not wanting in fitness for the usefulness peculiar to 
woman ; in cases of sickness she could do more than any one else, 
and would watch for many nights together, bearing fatigues under 



398 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

whicn an ordinary constitution must have sunk. In emergencies 
that required prompt action, her energy was praised with enthusiasm 
by her own sex. Finally, when pecuniary embarrassments made it 
necessary for Dix and his family to leave their home, and the wife, 
a gentle, ladylike creature, was overpowered with grief, and could 
do little to expedite preparations, Frances was the nerve of them all. 
She packed up everything, dressed the children one by one the last 
morning, placing each on a chair when in readiness, with orders not 
to move, and with cheerful alacrity arranged everything for their 
departure. She had accustomed herself to firing at a mark, and 
was considered one of the best shots in the country, besides being 
able to ride a horse with any racer. It was said she could cut oft a 
chicken's head at an almost incredible number of rods, and that she 
often went out deer hunting ; but this last tradition does not vouch 
for. She was the life of pic-nics or pleasure parties, and seldom let 
pass an opportunity of making a smart or satirical speech, some- 
times at the expense of delicate regard for the feelings of others. A 
certain Judge Thompson, who had held office at Batavia at the time 
of Morgan's abduction, as sheriff of the county, and had earned a 
notoriety in no wise enviable, chanced to be helping her at a pic-nic 
on one occasion, and began to rally her on her penchant for meat ; 
" Yes," she retorted, " I am fond of flesh ; you of blood ;" a rejoin- 
der which was keenly felt by the mortified official. 

On another occasion the lady seems to have met her match, being 
excessively annoyed by a gallant who chose to vex her by pretend- 
ing to mistake her name, calling her " Miss Trash," and then cor- 
recting himself with an apparently confused apology. She used to 
laugh heartily in mentioning a speech meant to be particularly ill- 
natured, levelled at her at a dinner party at Ypsilanti by a lady of 
her own stamp, who had become irritated beyond forbearance by 
some of her sallies. Looking significantly at Miss Trask, she gave 
her toast, saying, " When Boston next takes an emetic, I hope it will 
tarn its head towards the ocean." 

It may well be imagined that those to whom Miss Trask chose 
to be amiable, liked her much, while she was thoroughly detested 



FRANCES TEASK. 399 

by those who had suffered from the arrows of her wit. Strange as 
it may seem, she was held in high esteem by many of her own sex, 
notwithstanding her boldness of carriage, from which it may be 
inferred that she affected to be more lawless than she was in reality. 
She accompanied Mr. Dix and his family when they removed to 
Texas. Some two years since, when she returned on a visit to 
Michigan, the manifest change and improvement in her bearing and 
manners were the subject of general remark. She had grown abso- 
lutely quiet and dignified ; so that those who had heard only of 
her early fame, expressed some disappointment at not finding her 
the dashing, sprightly creature she had been represented. Time 
and the trials and labors incident to life in a new country had tamed 
her wild spirit ; she had mourned the loss of a brother in the Texan 
service, and. had undergone a second term of the difficulties and 
privations of pioneer life. The government of Texas, however, had 
shown that they appreciated her services by voting her a large tract 
of land in compliment to her opening the first seminary for young 
ladies in that State. This possession, with the portion of land 
assigned to her deceased brother, made her a wealthy woman. 
Among the curiosities she brought from her new home, her Mexican 
blanket attracted great attention from its novelty, elegance and 
richness. Some said it had been valued in Boston at a thousand 
dollars. A story had gone about, the details of which were denied 
by the heroine, that during the struggle in Texas, a Mexican 
attempting to force his way into the house at a time when Mr. Dix 
was too ill to act on the defensive, had been shot by the intrepid 
sister-in-law. 

It may be conjectured that Miss Trask had many admirers. 
She had been engaged at Dixboro' to Sherman Dix, a relative 
of her brother-in-law, and somewhat her junior; but they quar- 
relled, it was said, upon one occasion when she was suffering 
from an attack of ague about some trifling matter, and the 
suitor was peremptorily dismissed. When the family removed 
to Texas some years afterwards, the young man followed, and re- 
mained a bachelor ; whether on account of a lingering attachment 



4:00 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

to the fair inconstant, or some other reason, it has not been recorded. 
Miss Trask's matrimonial destiny at length overtook her ; she mar- 
ried at Austin a Mr. Thompson, and was left a widow in a few 
months. Her nephew by marriage is Secretary of State in Texas, 
and a son and daughter of Mr. Thompson reside at Chicago. 



Among the early settlers of Michigan who deserve a notice, should. 
be numbered Mrs. Hector Scott, the daughter of Luther Martin, the 
lawyer who so ably and successfully defended Aaron Burr. She 
came to the State before 1837, and is still residing in Detroit. She 
has passed through many severe reverses and trials ; but her intel- 
lectual ability, energy, and firmness of character, have sustained her, 
constraining the admiration and respect of all who enjoy her acquaint- 
ance. Like her, Mrs. Talbot, once a celebrated beauty, retains the 
dignified manners of the olden time. She was the daughter of 
Commodore Truxton. She still resides on her farm near Pontiac ; 
the ancient log house embowered in eglantine, and showing evidence 
within doors of a refinement of taste which can invest with elegance 
the homeliest materials. 

At Union City, in the southern part of Michigan, lives Mrs. 
Mosely, daughter of the missionary, Bingham, and the first white 
chDd born in the Sandwich Islands. The first child born at the 
Falls of St. Anthony was Mrs. Horatio Van Cleve, the daughter of 
Maj. Nathan Clark. Orren and Ann White, descendants of the 
New England pilgrims, came to Ann Arbor the second year after 
its settlement, and still reside on the place they purchased, about 
two miles from the village. 

Mrs. Goodrich, one of the pioneers, who came with her husband 
and family to Michigan as early as 1827, prides herself somewhat 
on a thrifty grape vine which ornaments her beautiful garden, 
brought by her from New England, and a shoot from those vines 
at " Bloody Brook," the tempting clusters of which enticed the un- 
fortunate young men whose massacre gave name to the locality. 



ANECDOTES. 401 

Miss Hoit, who lived in the northern part of Livingston County, 
when the country was covered with thick forests, wandered one day 
so far, while gathering wild flowers, that she entirely lost her way. 
In her distress she heard the tinkling of cow-bells, and following the 
sound, remained with the cattle till evening, when she went home 
in safety under their escort. 

The wife of a pioneer who had lived in " the bush " nearly three 
years without seeing another white female face, has spoken of the 
delight with which she found a dandelion in bloom near her door- 
step. Probably the seed of the golden flower had been brought 
with that of the " tame grass," as they called " timothy " in dis- 
tinction from the native marsh grass ; and its unexpected ap- 
pearance brought back so vividly her old home associations and 
remembrance of the beloved ones there, that she could not resist 
the impulse to " sit down and have a good cry." " I felt less lonely," 
she said, " all that day, and ever since. My dandelions are the only 
ones in the settlement, and I take care that they and the white 
clover, which has since made its appearance, shall not run out." 
Another in Illinois, who had for .a long time lived without windows, 
found herself at last able to indulge in the luxury of glass panes, 
and had a small window set, so that she could see to sew in the 
day-time in winter. All the first day, while plying her needle, she 
found herself continually looking off, to wonder at the novelty of 
what she had been formerly used to regard as an indispensable conve- 
nience. The dwellers on the heavily timbered land, which unlike 
the pleasant " openings " where the sunshine falls, afforded no relief 
except the "clearing" marked with blackened stumps, were sub- 
jected to dangers as well as inconvenience. Mrs. Comstock, de- 
scribing her primitive home in Shiwasse County, says, " We had 
previously had a log house erected in the woods, but we came up 
in a boat by the river, and when we reached the spot, were obliged 
to have a road cut before we could get to our home. Here for a 
long time I never dared trust our children outside the enclosure for 

o 

fear of the bears ; for those animals would often come close about 
us, even to the fence." 



402 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

Many of the families who had removed to Detroit before the war 
of 1812, returned east previous to its outbreak, being in dread of 
attacks from the Indians in the neighborhood, who were known to 
be in British pay, and made frequent demonstrations of hostility ; 
sometimes encamping near the houses of residents in numbers 
of three or four hundred. Captives brought to Detroit by the 
savages, were often purchased there to save them from a more terri- 
ble fate. A young girl who had been thus taken into a family, one 
clay seeing a party of Indians pass by, uttered a piercing shriek, 
and fell senseless to the floor. On recovering consciousness, she 
declared that she had seen her mother's scalp in possession of one 
of the savages, recognizing it by the long light braid of hair. Her 
story was confirmed by a person who had seen the mother and 
daughter brought with other prisoners from near Sandusky, Ohio. 
The mother being in feeble health, and unable to travel as fast as 
was required, was tomahawked, her daughter being hurried on in 
ignorance of the cruel murder. 

At the time of Hull's surrender, the women expressed much in- 
dignation. A Mrs. Woodward, since well known in Detroit, men- 
tions a hairbreadth escape. One morning during the war, she had 
risen, dressed herself as usual, and was sitting by an open window 
which looked upon the Canada side ; suddenly a cannon-ball whizzed 
past her face and buried itself in the side of the house. She avers 
that it actually straightened the curls of her nair. 

The preceding notices may serve to show something of the priva- 
tions and perils encountered by female pioneers in Michigan, 
and the heroism, patience, and energy with which they were met, 
as well as afford a glimpse into the peculiar character which, mark- 
ing the early settlers, has in some degree been transmitted to their 
children. 



XXIV. 

EVEN as late as 1835, the emigrants who poured into Michigan, 
often building their homes in the dense forest or on wild prairie land, 
are entitled to be called pioneers. An idea of the scenery of por- 
tions of the peninsula at that period, and the mode of living 
among the early settlers, may be given best in the language of one 
who has had opportunity of observing them. For this purpose, I 
am permitted to make a few extracts from a manuscript journal 
kept by a highly gifted and accomplished lady, now residing in the 
western part of New York, who travelled in that year on horse- 
back through the lower peninsula : 

"Bronson (now Kalamazoo), May 28th, 1835. Owing to tho 
uniform progress of journeying day after day from Jacksonburgh 
to Marshall, a distance of thirty-six, and from Marshall hence, of 
thirty-seven miles, 'the little lines of yesterday' have well-nigh 
faded without being noticed. The memory of the beautiful, and 
of such beauty a forest in its wildness is so much more power- 
ful than distinct, and having the same characteristics, presents so 
much uniformity that but little record can be made. On our route 
we passed over some twenty miles through the wild woods, without 
seeing a human being. The foliage was just bursting from its 
numberless sheaths into rich drapery ; . our pathway was literallv 



404 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

strewn with flowers, the horses pressing them at every step, while 
the birds in their leafy homes, deluged the otherwise unbroken 
stillness with wild and delicious melody. The silence of the deep 
forest, during the brief intervals of these untaught lays, seems 
strangely oppressive ; yet ere you can analyze its unwonted power, 
earth's lyre, with its myriad tones, is struck again, and you are 
roused to the liveliest sympathy. I had somewhat the feeling of 
Milton's Eve, differently applied. She asked, ' Wherefore all night 
long shine these ?' My heart-query was, * Wherefore all this 
wealth of varied note and strain ?' But the same heart answered, 
4 These feathered songsters know of home, and love, and sweet 
companionship, and joyously give thanks for the gift of being, tell- 
ing to each other, and to Him who made them, of the blessing of 
life. 7 

" This day we first saw the Kalamazoo Eiver a narrow, dark 
stream. We stopped at a small log cabin, which on its shingle 
sign advertised i Entertainment for man and beast ;' doubtless after 
the fashion of the settlements the proprietors had left, and we were 
grateful for any shelter from the noonday sun. I noticed, while 
sitting in an inner room, to which, as a lady traveller, I was cere- 
moniously conducted, that the landlord eyed my husband with sin- 
gular, yet irresolute attention. I did not fancy, however, that he 
had ever seen him before. He was an odd-looking personage ; 
rather slight in his general proportions, and short in stature ; he 
had large, prominent features, overshadowed by a shock of coarse 
yellow hair, faded and worn, that gave him a wild and savage 
aspect, particularly as this hair and his complexion seemed scarcely 
to vary a shade in tint. After repeated advances, accompanied 
with stolen and hurried glances at my husband, he rushed out from 
his so-called bar, and broke out into a sort of earnest thanksgiving, 
blessing him for having ejected him from one of the small pieces 
of land contracted to settlers in western New York. He went on 
to say that he did not at first recognize him, but he did now, and 
could tell him that sending him from that farm was one of the best 
things that ever happened to him ; that after he was sent away 






JOURNAL. 405 



because he could not pay a cent on his land, he came to this 
place, and would not give ten acres of it for fifty like that he left in 
the State of New York. Setting aside the intrinsic value so ear- 
nestly put forth, this new and much-prized possession was truly a 
beautiful spot. Ttue dark current of the river was rushing with 
arrowy swiftness past the trail on which he had piled his log dwell- 
ing. A fine piece of rising ground formed the back-ground, which 
was imperfectly subdued by cultivation, while a little to the west a 
scene lay revealed that might do for a glimpse of fairy-land. A 
small lake, with its sparkling waters, reposed like a jewel in its 
dark green setting. The forest, on the one side, was enlivened with 
the luxuriance of the dog-wood, now in full blossom as far as the 
eye could reach. The large white flowers dispensed in such profu- 
sion, gave more the aspect of a boundless garden of lilies, than the 
unsuspected treasures of an uncultivated wilderness. There were 
clear openings on the other side, the meadow-like ground being 
just sprinkled with trees, as if arrayed for picturesque landscape 
beauty, affording wider vistas from the foliage only making itself 
seen in delicate tracery, not being yet quite unfolded. 

' JVIany an elf and many a fay 
Here might hold their pastime gay. 7 

" Our landlady for the hour seemed to share fully her husband's 
feelings of self-gratulation, though she told me it was pretty hard 
times when they had to live in and under their ox- wagon during the 
early spring days, while the logs were felled and put up for their 
home. This log house would be quite an object of interest to per- 
sons unaccustomed to the pristine dwellings of the western territo- 
ries. It seemed to consist of three distinct buildings, probably put 
up at different periods, to meet the increasing demands of ambition 
as prosperity more abounded. What was evidently the first pile 
of logs, was used as a bar-room of the roughest construction. This 
also served as a counter for the ready-change business of this 
much frequented inn. The boards, or rather planks of the floor, 
were hewn, and laid down so unequally as to be perilous to 



406 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

an unwary or even rapid step. Directly in the rear was the 
kitchen, in which the culinary implements and table necessaries 
were arranged, evidently with an attempt at order without the re- 
cognized law thereunto of anything in heaven or earth. The cook- 
ing apparatus was so simple, and the vessels for various uses so few 
in number, as to excite my wonder and admiration at woman's 
homely tact and skill ; and wayworn traveller though I was, the 
preparation for our noonday meal was almost as engrossing as the 
partaking thereof after it was prepared. A third division of the 
house served as a parlor for our hostess, and as an occasional bed- 
room for * special people' a phrase which I found quite current as 
a designation for the more fastidious class of travellers, who now 
began to pass through this hitherto almost unknown territory. 
Above the main part of these buildings extended a sort of garret, 
lighted by a window of four small panes in one end, and the open- 
ing of the ladder-way the only mode of entrance. This was the 
dormitory of India-rubber like capacity for the multitudes who in 
this season of land-speculation, did here nightly congregate. 

" On the fifth of June, we pursued our journey toward the south- 
eastern part of the territory, intending to take a look at Lake Michi- 
gan from the mouth of the St. Joseph's River. Our way lay 
through forests and openings similar to those through which we 
had passed for days, but afterwards we struck into the more heavily 
timbered land, which the growth of the advancing season had clad 
with cumbrous garments of foliage, closing up the vistas of beauty 
and light ; in places denying the summer sun its right to rest upon 
the flowers and shrubs it had but lately warmed into being. At 
nearly noon, we came upon the edge of a large prairie, the 
largest in the Territory, which although much smaller than those 
spread farther westward, had still all the distinctive features of those 
vast and undulating plains. The landscape was expanded and beau- 
tiful, and yet one can scarcely make intelligible the penetrating sen- 
timent of its beauty. Perhaps the first influence consisted in the 
sense of relief from the pent up feeling we had experienced in the 
close pressure as it were, of the deep, dark forest from which we 



JOURNAL. 4:07 

emerged. In the centre of this plain was a collection of * innumer- 
ous boughs' like an island in the midst of circling waters. The 
prairie was begirt by a belt of timbered land, though the outline 
was so dim in the distance, as rather to look like a lazy cloud rest- 
ing for support upon the verge of the horizon. We gave our 
hoi^ses the reins, and they cantered merrily across the rich plain, the 
whole covered in this early summer with short and close grass. 
Innumerable flowers raised their variegated heads between the tiny 
meshes of network woven by the wild pea, while the butterflies, 
with their bright tints and quick fluttering wings, were perpetually 
upspringing, startled by our approach. After crossing the prairie 
we again struck into the forest, having previously stopped at the 
island inn for some refreshment. 

" Towards evening, as was our wont, we felt that we must look 
along our way for some lodging for the night. Our custom had 
been, except in the villages, not to seek accommodation at the inns 
scattered at irregular distances along the road. The new settlers 
continually moving in toward their purchases, and the number of 
speculators in pursuit of locations on which to raise, not dwellings, 
but future fortunes, so completely filled them up, as to render it an 
impossibility to find for a lady even momentary seclusion, much less 
repose. Our practice was as soon as we found the shadows begin- 
ning to lengthen, to stop at the first decent log house and ask for 
a drink of water. Getting the water afforded time and opportunity 
for reconnoitering ; and if the tin cup or basin in which the draught 
was offered looked clean, and the premises in any way inviting by 
comparison, we made the request that we could be accommodated 
for the night. We had not on this evening seen any houses, the 
tract of country through which we had been passing for some hours 
being without settlement. 

" On coming up to some woodmen whose gleaming axes told that 
their whereabouts was near at hand, we stopped, and after exchang- 
ing mutual glances of inquiry, my husband asked if they could tell 
us where we could find a tavern? They looked at each other and 
then askance at us. The question was repeated again ; they looked 



408 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

bewildered, when my husband thoughtfully changed his phrase and 
said ' Where can I stay to-night, and have good care taken of 
my horses ?' The answer then came quickly ' Oh, at Nicholas 
B 's, the Hooshier's, he has a first-rate place, and takes in every 
night a great many folks.' We made two or three further inquiries 
and passed on, with our expectations considerably raised in prospect 
of the promised accommodation. 

" Just after sunset, we reached the place designated by the wood- 
man, and peering through the gloaming, I espied a good- sized 
frame barn, with an enclosure, and all the appearance of a well 
stocked barn and rick. I fairly screamed with delight, so important 
to our further journey was the welfare of our horses, and so certain 
did the indication seem of a comfortable resting place for my own 
wearied limbs. We soon came out of the forest, upon the edge of 
a small prairie ; there stood the barn in very truth, but I looked 
around in vain for the house which I had pictured in such glowing 
colors to myself, as presenting some comparison in size and comfort 
to the barn. A sudden chill of loneliness came over us. There 
lay the prairie, about three hundred acres in extent, shrubless and 
bare, except the patches of recent cultivation, which, however, in the 
dim light, gave but little indication of richness or growth. The 
trees shut us in completely, and after traversing the deep forest 
as we had been for hours, we could not even let imagination picture 
a livelier or brighter scene beyond. Night came rapidly on, while 
we stood baffled, without a present sign of human existence. Our 
horses had for a mile or two been lagging, perhaps in memory of 
the morning scamper and noon-day refreshment ; and now the 
whole group seemed peculiarly sensible of the influence of solitude, 
which in us soon resolved itself into utter dreariness. A fresh 
glance of scrutiny, however, enabled us to descry a very small hut 
jutting into the woods, as uninviting a log house as we had seen in all 
our wanderings. We both looked at it for some moments without 
speaking, so completely paralyzed were all our 'high raised expecta- 
tions. I then exclaimed, ' We cannot stay in that hovel/ But 
fastidiousness was soon displaced by eagerness with me, when my 



JOUKNAL. 4.00 

husband calmly said 4 We must find shelter there or in the barn, 
for no further can we go to-night.' We urged our horses to the 
door ; a well stood directly in front of it, a rare and great treasure in 
a new settlement, and after grateful notice of this, my husband 
entered the dwelling. He asked the woman civilly, 'if she could 
accommodate us for the night. 7 Her answer came quick in utter- 
ance and shrill in tone. ' I suppose I shall have to, any way. 7 
Such was our welcome. But necessity here giving no scope to 
pride, or even wonted self-respect, obliged me to dismount and 
receive the favor so grudgingly bestowed. The woman was perhaps 
about thirty years of age, plain in feature, and old-fashioned beyond 
iny memory in attire. Her dress was a thick striped material, 
woven to defy time and its ravages. It was unlike any fabric to 
which I had 'been accustomed. It fitted the figure almost closely, 
low in the neck, with sleeves just coming below the elbow. The 
dress was extremely short-waisted, without a particle of fulness in 
the skirt, save the ordinary plaiting just behind essential to conve- 
nience. She had oti no shoes or stockings, and a faded bandana 
handkerchief was tied in a loose knot around her neck. Her hair 
was bound straight about her head, and fastened with some sort 
of a metal comb, just large enough to perform its office. 

" On my entrance a wooden chair was handed me, after being 
huniedly dusted ; it was low and rickety, but it instantly bestowed 
the promise of rest, which I so much craved after sitting so many 
hours in the saddle. My husband, without entering the hut, went 
on the woman's vague direction to find the landlord, that our 
horses, whose prospects of accommodation were so far beyond ours, 
might speedily receive attention. As soon as he was gone, I essay- 
ed an acquaintance with my hostess, and soon believed that her 
want of courtesy at our reception proceeded more from a fear of 
not being able to make us comfortable, than from vexation at the 
present trouble. Two children, the eldest of them not more than 
two years of age, divided her care with the present bustle of pre- 
paring a meal and entertaining me by rapid talking. Her face be- 
came almost pleasant with the interest it soon showed in transforming 
18 



410 . PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

me into a newspaper, from which she could extract without much 
trouble the information desired by woman, let her nook of the 
world be ever so obscure, or her connection with the things without 
ever so slight, I had in my daily progress become quite used to 
this sort of questioning, <a*Kt it* some instances had to make my 
tarrying a lasting mentor-mi usefulness, by drawing patterns of 
certain;. 'garments, collars; caps, etc., with a coal on the floor or table, 
where papei* could not be had, so tha& wh# cloth could be pro- 
cured -the latest- mode- might be used in- 'its fashioning. While thus 
engaged in conversation, growing in self importance every moment, 
and quite forgetting that I was ftii ! lihiw^hed^for guest, I took a 
survey of the house. It was, of 'dourse, built of logs, fourteen feet 
by sixteen; its sides five feet six -mches: ih height, and the roof 
covered with strips of bark. A few scattering boards made the 
floor. It had not the ordinary stick and round chimney common 
to log houses, but a sort -of box was made of split ; logs at one end 
of the room-; this was filled in with dirt and ashes, and the fire 
built in the centre of it. An opening in the ill-made roof per- 
mitted the smoke to find egress-, 'though occasional puffs during the 
process -of- getting stopper, advised' us of 'its loitering presence. 
After my survey of the room itself, I began to take notice of the 
furniture, and more especially of its- sleeping facilities. Two bed- 
steads, each sustained by one post quite an anomaly ] m> my pre- 
vious experience of Cabinet ^utttftttfe \ a' 'toge ; chest, which had 
evidfetfCly borne joiiril^yi^^Wheti- ;i tl^'sSay at house-keeping was 
made away from the^^aiteifnal home; a small boxoMiotti<'manu- 
'ftieture, and some other absolute essentials to the wants of even the 
poorest dwelling,-' constituted its-weMtli; ( I-must-add'ai note bf de- 
scription of 1 the 'b<*dsteafe> -T\vfr 'sides- were formed by; the projec- 
tion of the logs of -wliich tbei-'^ui-wa^ mkl&fatfrtne imm; > 
post supported the^tet^tw^^'^^ whi^h' wei-fe oft tfo o$* 
inserted intb the Metes of '%e >M6uSe; '- ^fetei^bed^ : wer ;' 
high'i- u|)ba i >tbefrj <a*id * tti Ai^rtMP eo\fei<edf ^wfth -blue 1 aB 
wbdleh ^ cwerMs^^uMte v^artM of ^fo-J'portioln" brought 
^aiimolans'iJ ni bswoda ji^of? Ji ^^yi^hu -/ilj d,iiv/ jn;>^.i<j j^t.xnij' 



JOUKNAL. 411 

young wife to her husband. Small pillows, with clean-looking cot- 
ton pillow-cases, completed their decoration. 

"I had noticed that my hostess, during her bustle and constant 
chat with me, had gone frequently to the door, and looked anxious- 
ly into the increasing darkness, I of course supposed from no other 
motive than a desire to find out whether my husband had found 
hers, and secured attention for our horses. But not so interested 
was she in her stranger guests. At another visit to the low door, 
her anxiety could not be restrained, and she exclaimed, ' I wonder 
where my children can be ! They ought to have been here more 
than an hour ago; they are always out of the way when I want 
them.' I looked aghast. More children ! How many how old ! 
What could be done with them ! I had been puzzling myself to 
know how six of us could be accommodated in the two beds, and 
in this tiny room ; and now an indefinite number to be expected, 
how could we be made even tolerably comfortable ? Speculation 
quiet though it was was soon to be ended by more precise ap- 
prehension, when four children, three boys and a girl, came rush- 
ing from the woods into the house, animated by all the buoyancy of 
hungry little mortals just liberated from a day's confinement and 
control. It being quite dark without, the light, small as it was 
within the dwelling, formed a strong contrast, and th$ little urchins 
were so suddenly arrested upon perceiving a stranger, that they 
stood like so many statues, incapable of thought or movement 
The remonstrance of the mother quickly restored them, and then 
began importunate demands for something to eat. Thus there 
were six children, the father and mother, with ourselves, to be 
stowed away for the night. It was in vain for me to speculate 
upon the probable disposition of these numbers, so trusting as I 
had often done before to the elastic capabilities of these log houses, 
I determined to bide my time. 

" Our host came in with my husband, both bending low in passing 
through the door. My husband gave a wistful glance at me, and 
seemed reassured when a widened rather than a lengthened face was 
turned upon him. Truth to tell, I was almost convulsed with 



412 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

laughter at some of the previous proceedings of my hostess. The ill- 
jointed planks which served for our floor, were quickly brushed 
hither and thither with an Indian broom (made of wood finely 
splintered) ; the flying dust seeming to have no particular destina- 
tion, save to seek new places of deposit. The children were re- 
peatedly hushed and pushed into sundry nooks and corners, while 
the cooking of the supper went on. The little urchins peered at the 
stranger, and anon played tricks with each other, when a sudden 
burst, caused by outbreaking^ mischief, would occasion a new effort 
at quieting. In process of time our supper was served, and ere long 
we gathered to the meal. The table was an oaken plank, supported 
by three stout sticks put into bored holes, for legs. A table-cloth 
being altogether a superfluous luxury, we dispensed with it ; some 
bread, baked in an open kettle, pork fried in the same utensil, and 
tea with maple sugar, formed the variety presented to us. Neither 
milk nor butter were afforded, and yet we were at a regular house 
of entertainment, kept by a large landed proprietor. Strange to 
say, the meal was quite palatable, eaten with a healthful appetite 
after a day's rkle on horseback of some thirty-five miles. Soon after 
tea, the children being fed by pieces put into their hands during the 
time we were supping, I ventured to hint, that as J was very tired I 
should like ^P g to bed. The woman went to the chest which I 
had before noticed, took out two clean sheets, spread them upon one 
of the feather beds, and again put on the woollen coverlet, although 
it was a June night, a fire burning briskly, and ten persons were to 
inhabit the small apartment. Immediately after the bed was pre- 
pared, the hostess said in an authoritative tone to her husband, 
4 Nicholas, the lady wishes to go to bed ; turn your face to the 
wall.' Nicholas, as if accustomed to this nightly drill, wheeled 
swiftly about, and stood as still as if suddenly become one of the 
scanty articles of furniture. 

" This said Nicholas looked somewhat like a barbarian, his bushy 
head and unshaven beard presenting quite a wild appearance. He 
h'owever seemed intelligent enough for his locality and business, 
and took most excellent care of our horses. My toilet for the night 



JOURNAL. 413 

was very speedily made, and I threw myself on the bed, having first 
removed Ihe odious coverlet. Still no new developements were 
made in reference to the accommodation of the youthful group ; 
ere long, however, sundry signs of sleepiness appeared, betokened 
by fretfulness and some quarrelling, and then the mother proceeded 
to lift out two trundle beds made of pieces of board nailed together. 
The absence of rollers made the operation rather laborious, but the 
husband and father vouchsafed not his aid. It was finally done by 
the woman alone, and into these five of the little ones were speedily 
placed. Very soon after, the dim, flickering light was put out, and 
we were left utterly abandoned, as I feared, to suffocation. I remon- 
strated decidedly against the shutting of the door, but was told there 
was fear of the wolves ; and indeed before morning our ears were 
saluted with the shrill, though somewhat smothered howl of these 
prowlers of the forest. I bore the heat and bad air for several hours, 
and then in desperation for want of a pure breath, I commenced 
picking the chinking out from between the logs at the side of the 
bed, and in this way secured for myself a breathing place, amid the 
enjoyment of which I fell asleep, and awaked not until the broad 
sunbeams were laughing in my face. 

% * * * * % * 

"During the last week we have made an excursion into the upper 
part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Early in the morning of 
Monday, we left the village and crossed the Ke-Kalamazoo in a mis- 
erably constructed scow, and soon after receiving a wrong direction, 
lost our way. Pursuing, however, a trail for some distance, not 
knowing whither it would lead us, we came to an Indian trader's 
house, pleasantly located upon the banks of the river. We met 
before we reached this place, some Indians curiously and fantasti- 
cally dressed with feathers, ribbons, &c. They were mounted on 
ponies, and seemed bound on some official expedition. They all 
appeared happy and good-natured. The trader gave, us very vague 
directions for our onward way, but perhaps as definite as a route 
through an uninhabited forest could be made. The direction was 
after this fashion : Take the right hand trail, then the left, and 



414: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

afterwards strike across the woods to the right of the sun, with some 
intimation that at certain distances lakes would be seen, and open- 
ings which would give us fresh energy and perseverance. Making 
practical these suggestions as far as we might, aided by a pocket 
compass and the extra bestowment of shrewdness with which my 
husband is endowed, we reached a prairie where there was a small 
settlement, and stopped for a few moments to avail ourselves of the 
intelligence, if so be we could find any, of a man loitering by the 
side of the trail, in hopes of further direction, and then passed into 
the dense wilderness. Our destination was an Indian village at a 
distance of twenty-six miles. The interval had no human habita- 
tion, and we were carefully charged to follow without deviation the 
particular trail to the village. Here and there were traces of a 
recent Indian encampment, and in one or two places we saw the 
smoke ascending from their unextinguished fires. The country had 
the same beauty with which we had become so familiar. The few 
clouds were motionless, the water in the many lakes we passed 
sparkled, but scarcely showed the tiniest ripple. As before nature's 
deep repose was broken, when the many birds swelled out their rich 
choruses, and every little trill met our ears with peculiar distinctness. 
"We passed over a number of small but beautiful prairies, like g rden 
spots covered in wild luxuriance with flowers of every form and hue 
emitting delicate and delicious perfume. This last seemed rather pecu- 
liar to this part of the country, for in spite of what philosophers tell 
us, wild flowers have ordinarily no fragrance to common perception. 
In some districts we rode through dark and tangled forest, the strag- 
gling, yet by its heavy masses closely plaited foliage, bounding our 
vision to a few feet on either side, and then almost before we felt the 
confinement we passed out into an opening, where the bright sun- 
beams darting quick lines of light left the shadowed portion darker 
from the contrast. Again we would ride among the trees on the 
smooth turf, not a shrub or a brush marring the velvet surface, while 
the lofty trees overarching in their rich foliage, canopied our path- 
way. 

" The hours of the day seemed long in passing, from the necessity 



415 

of carefully watching the trail, and ftpfa^vuig^Qy, |rteident ( l|nked 
to humanity to enliven us. About J^ 3 a ftjtgij^jj^ 
sun was to sink to his rest, we came ^op.^e ,ep!ge of a w.et 
or marsh about half a mile in extent,,. )ff | i( ^hr ( aftlf s frpm! 
as the uncertain tread of my horse's ffee?t rugpn rth^e yielding tju;r| 
made my seat unsteady, and altogetheij t am^eci and repelled me. 
But there was no alternative ; the trail ^p.^i^^'Q^ it- in its 
line^ and we dared not at that hour ran, f tli^7^. ( 9f <Jelay, JL 
should lose in the deepening twilight its uncertain guidance. We 
pressed on, feeling at every step that our horses at the next, .might 
sink their hoofs too deeply for extrication. 11^^ peculiarity, of; this 
marsh was in the fact that there was not the slightest appearance of 
mud ; all was a bright green sward, or would have been, in th,e glow- 
ing sunshine, but this was resting on a wa^ryj bed,-; into? whiqh it 
sank at every pressure. We however at last safely crossed ,jthg 
marsh after some toil, when lo, a new anxiety awaited me. A 
dark stream intervened between us and the solid ground, and , as the 
spot where we stood was evidently the ford, cross it ?we must. The 
pool, or creek, or whatever might be its appropriate designation^ i w 8? 
black as Erebus, with sloping banks, and though narrow, looke^^p 
deep in the uncertainty, that I quite feared it would engulph us. 
My husband bade me tarry until he had crossed it,, and. I felt quite 
sick with fear for him when I saw him plunge in. The struggling 
of his large and powerful horse tended not to reassure me, but when 
safely across, he said he would return and exchange horses with 
me. I could not think of permitting him to do so, and this gave ^pe 
a momentary spasm of courage, trusting to the agility, if not 
strength of my own animal. The moment of descent into the 
pool was the last of distinct consciousness, and I was borne through 
I know not how. When I recovered I found myself sitting uppiji 
the ground, the muddy water streaming down my face, where it 
had been thrown in profusion by my terrified husband. JEfy had 
expected to see me fall from my horse into the stream. I had not 
been well for a day or two, and this descent into the turbid, jff{\t$$ 
quite unnerved me. 



416 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

" To our dismay we perceived our horses had strayed, and already 
it was almost too dark to see the trail, our sole guide. T imme- 
diately anticipated an unguarded night in the wild wood before us ; 
but a kind Providence induced our steeds to regard my husband's 
well known whistle, and both returned to our eager grasp. Ere it 
was quite night we heard the cheering sound of a woodman's axe, 
and guided by its repeated stroke, soon perceived a dim light in the 
distance. On coming up to the man, who seemed to be cutting 
wood for culinary purposes of the night, we asked for the trader ; 
the man said he was about home, and could accommodate us and 
our horses for the night. We passed on. I entered the dwelling; 
it was laid up with logs, some fifty or sixty feet square, and but very 
recently erected. It had neither door, window, nor division between 
earth and roof. There was no floor laid, except for a small part of 
it, which formed a sort of dais, on which were two bedsteads and 
beds. A large pleasant-looking Frenchwoman met me, and in im- 
perfect English gave me a cheerful welcome. I believe she was 

r o o 

really delighted to greet me, so seldom did a woman find her way 
to her far-off dwelling, I was utterly weary, but the large, bare, 
unfurnished room gave but little promise of seclusion or* quiet. 
Supper was soon served, venison, cranberries and bread, with a 
good cup of tea, sweetened with maple sugar, forming our meal. I 
soon found that eleven men, with the trader and his wife, and her 
maid of all work, were to occupy the same sleeping apartment with 
my husband and myself. I was too much jaded, however, to regard 
the absence of even such proprieties of life with much sensibility, 
and begged to go to bed, as my only prospective comfort on earth. 
In this I was gratified, and within an hour after my arrival I had 
taken possession of one of the two visible beds. My fellow-lodgers 
I believe rested on buffalo skins strewn at their will about the earth 
enclosed by the logs. 

" Soon after going to bed I discovered what my husband had care- 
fully kept from me that we were surrounded by some two hun- 
dred Indians, who were now sheltered in the hut the trader had 
abandoned for this new one, and were preparing to hold, this night, 



JOURNAL. 417 

one of their peculiar festivals. Soon after they commenced their 
hideous singing and dancing, accompanied by the beating of sticks 
upon something that resembled a gong, altogether forming a com- 
bination of sound and movement as revolting as any thing I ever 
saw or heard. In the intervals when they paused for rest, the night 
hawks, wheeling close to our low hut, by their wild shrill cries effect- 
ually set sleep at defiance. Never amid earth's varied experiences 
shall I forget that night. 

" Feverish and ill, I arose the next morning, with scarcely purpose 
enough to link thought with plan, but on the suggestion that if we 
proceeded on our journey to the Grand River country, I must suffer 
myself to be paddled across the Thornapple river by an Indian, alone 
with him in his canoe, while our horses should swim under the 
guidance of my husband, I decided that it was not possible, and 
soon after got ready to retrace our steps. To avoid the re-crossing 
of the marsh, and the discomforts of the evening before, the Indian 
trader, at our suggestion, indeed solicitation, promised to be our 
guide by a more circuitous route. To be our companion it was 
necessary to catch one of the many Indian ponies that were feeding 
in a drove not far from, the hut. The process amazed me much. 
A rope was fastened to the side of the house, some four feet from, 
the ground, and two or three of the Indians held the line firmly at 
the other end, while others drove the horses up towards the house, 
and when sufficiently near, quietly enclosed them with the circling 
cord, which as soon as the horses perceived, they yielded quietly, and 
the one selected even bowed his head to the halter. Experience 
had evidently taught them that resistance was vain. 

# * # * * * 

" Late on Saturday afternoon we arrived at the village of , 

where we proposed spending the Sabbath. Externally the inn pro- 
mised well, as it was large, well ventilated, and apparently comfor- 
tably furnished. We soon tested the truth of the ever applicable 
maxim, that * appearances often deceive.' Our supper was one of the 
worst prepared and most uncomfortable meals that had been offered 
in all our journey. The utter want of cleanliness was absolutely 
18* 



418 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

disgusting, and no part of the house seemed in its arrangement to 
recognize the fact that human comfort and health required as indis- 
pensable the use of fresh water and soap. I was shown with some 
parade into my room, which was a large one, furnished barely with 
the things required, and soon retired after a serious conflict between 
weariness and the revulsion of feeling occasioned by the appearance 
of the bed. However, fatigue triumphed ; and protecting myself 
from contact with sheets and pillow-cases as best I might, I threw 
myself upon the bed. Almost immediately after I was informed in 
a sort of apologetic way, that my room was the thoroughfare of the 
sleeping loft above ; and as there was no other ingress or egress, I 
was compelled to acquiesce in the arrangement, as if it were a 
matter of course. Some twenty men passed thus to their repose ; 
but as they were sad laggards on the beautiful Sabbath, I was able 
to get up, and take such time as I pleased for my toilet; 'Mthoirt 
fear of being disturbed. 

" The evening before I had ask6$'&& littt& ; tea8toSf$ o 
to bring me in the <^ftlin^a -ba&tf o# ;r w^FAn$'^n#vv 
provided -'Mysfetf'wl^^e^iit'el* |Mfc4tf*ete0f *iee><Mi 

nd tkaft 



she 

-^ water, 
t^ I'^l 



^ftflfii pfctiij^ ^fertf, 

amusement too,- W 7 a ft fe% -1Wmt4 t%fi g^' '^ fcu^ttMTwith 'tlla in- 

quest tB"at I wouM lend mf towel to' A the Judge* (the Circuit Court 

&^^ $w&$ ^^^"mo- 

.dt;u;fdj;3 ycf.) rnhnoca bsgoo-i 97/ Q'&ikr 



To ^B^^ffga^^ 

a&fe'^^aii^^^tB 



t^^ 

softie -aaR^iidN^ feeih- 
*8I 



419 



^.proportions: ja 

tion, and exhibited marks (such asjIfti^feOoJ^Wajftj etc.,) efv 
8jl(5$?gy/ $k 4i5^$^{ r ^^fciftft^^K^W(Jti^al effects of any nYen- 
tal skill. hjJJ^^^blliP^^^ were a^etti*- 

bled, which number increased in about twenty-five minutes to as 
many personfe3 S ;Iv^Qca6jQjedviarJt ^d-'fe^liifetttf^bbt^M^^audience 
contented themselves ^fei^^^^^Mn^fl^^Mi^f of T &^, ^sinister, 

who was regularly 'iMtifoVeci to' preacli twice "on the Sabbath, with 

. . , J 7^.i9YJha oHlBO A 

conversation one with another. After a while, when the delay even 

to the villagers seemed unreasonable.. and unaccountable, and pos- 

sibly the * on dits' of the past week had been thoroughly gone 

over* th^e, was a vi^b,l|<y^ 

consent they evinced, ^^pos^^t^; igft^/Tf 39^,^ ^ft^^r^oAt 

last one man arose, obs^rvec^ $fti^$ffi$ ^pust^i&^m^t^g the 

matter with tlieir njjnjs^ejya^ I p^4ffifl^e^(^^ 

heard of his having kft,)^p^ i -fr^9^^[fe^j?4rfe^W $^y thing 

respecting him, and then a proposition [jy^ iR^jB jtOjjcljspiMe. A 

hymn, was given out 

in a powerful 

csix verses of a hymn unknown I 

ence, an.^.\vj^ic r li was entirely Tm^ppijo^iiajt^ ^tii/fe^^Hd circuin- 

iSff^o : o-^r/pa desl 7towJ 10 neol(!^>b ,01001 oao ?m O j ooar/rins 

-"Before this was quite ended the people. ]aegan to go: out, and at 

its close there was a general' movement 'Suddenly this seemed to 



We again took a^^^fe^i^vt^i^^f^mB in 

and up to the desk wi$. : p^lm ^^ulJ^-^ieH,;^^; the ordinary 
figur ibr his duty had but JH^WS baAAlSdfl^W .acwfoaoerif; 
w'ith due solemnity he arose, and insfead of oiferiiag prayer, or any 
religious sentiment^ ^id,c^oj^ ? [^|fy fris^}% J ^id'^Qttheai! the bell 
when it \vas rung this morning, and forgot;, to, lQpk4i/Ba^jwatieh ; I 
was waiting foy the bell ^fyen, v pnje of ; ^^Jftiing ftien came up for 
few, Jf$>he^ flf 




V ,w lied Jucxln bir;I 



420 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

prayer, benediction, or reminder of any sort that this was holy 
time, we were allowed to depart. 

"That afternoon my husband and- myself preferred to worship in 
the glorious temple of the adjoining forest, where we found 

M k ? Neath cloistered boughs the floral bell that swingeth, 

And tolls its perfume on the passing air, 
Makes Sabbath in the woods, and ever ringeth 
A call to prayer. 7 n 



A few extracts from another journal of a lady residing in Michigan, 
whose family removed thither in 1837, and as usual occupied a log 
cabin till their house was ready, will further illustrate our subject. 

11 The house stood on a plain which had once been covered with 
beautiful trees, of which now remained only the stumps for every 
thing like a tree which could possibly cast its longest shadow within 
range of the dwelling had been hewn down ; and there, as an old 
woman said to me, i the sun could shine in nicely all day long, looking 
so improvement like ;' and there the tenement stood, not with bare 
walls, for the native bark had not left the logs. A small door gave 
entrance to its one room, eighteen or twenty feet square ; one little 
window with four panes of glass made darkness, dust, and cobwebs 
visible ; a huge i Dutch chimney ' occupied the opposite side, and as 
time had been busy with its untempered clay, having broken away 
one half its hearth and left many of its ribs bare, added greatly to 
the dust a-nd litter covering the black oaken boards of the floor. 
These boards had been laid down without planing or nailing to the 
beams on which they rested, and it. behoved one to step daintily in 
approaching their extremities. I giddily wished to be first to set foot 
within our new home, and had jumped from the carriage and rushed 
to the latch-string, exclaiming * now on your patron lady call,' 
when I found myself landed in the cellar. Fortunately it was not 
very deep, and on my ascension, mamma's rueful face warned me to 
make merry of it all. New rough boards were laid about half way 



t JOURNAL. - 421 

across the beams overhead, and these our l landlord ' called the 
* chamber floor.' The ascent was by a ladder of most primitive 
construction." * * +* 

" We have knelt together in prayer for the first time in our new 
home, and have gathered around the family board to our first meal 
in our 'own wilderness. This family board was two boards resting 
at either end on barrels, and we sat on our trunks, as we have no 
chairs ; our furniture cannot be brought from Detroit until the mud 
assuages and the dry land begins to appear. Seventeen of us sat 
down, and my dear father looked quite patriarchal, dispensing food 
to such a multitude. Such artificial distinctions as servant and 
master not eating together, are not to be known among us." * * 

" We have tacked sheets against the edges of the boards consti- 
tuting the ' chamber floor,' which are to be drawn up during the 
day, and at night let down to form a sleeping room for what our 
helps call the i females.' We have made a bedstead for papa and 
mamma, by putting together six large trunks, which during the day- 
time serve us for seats, and fortunately we brought a feather bed 
in the baggage- wagon. For the rest we have filled straw ticks with 
the sweet smelling marsh hay. 

4i May 24:th. Last night just as sleep had pressed his heaviest 
seal upon our eyelids, the fearful cry of * fire,' dispelled his poppy 
charm. We waked to a startling consciousness of danger, at the red 
glare and roaring crackling flames. Then dash went the cold water, 
darkness followed, and then came running little rivulets of the 
extinguishing element, making deposits around our beds upon the 
floor. We were half frozen for the rest of the night, and this morn- 
ing they are building a new chimney. The logs are sawn out, and 
large cobble stones piled one upon another the chinks filled in 
with clay then from among the trees of the forest are sought out a 
couple of bent boughs with exactly the right curve these are the 
jams, and are fastened the upper ends from ten to twelve feet 
apart in the beams that support the second floor. They are set 
from five to six feet from the logs of the house side, into which 
their lower ends are securely fastened. A quantity of green wood 



422 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 



is then split up into slats, nailed across jtkisfe '.a&d aJsolaid up above 
them as children build pens ^isth j^rn, ; cobs, gradually lessening as 
they approach the roof, from whicjh ,theya-ise st>me tVtQ, feet ; the 

vyith{ new:^laj,jajpidij;h^/^ii$iU6f is 
,lrdi^ ta top ; 
Qr some yearn, 
good thing that 
i $ease<i *> ; go to 
dblQue, -.although 
torttft 'j*e$k,rfor life- ? ;hi& 
pereeveirawoe in r :an old'itabit &mT-ed'Ws ciur present fetime, as the fire 
rieve^ coyd^have-beenc^extingaaiisliedoif, the- wateir had not been on 
tfe&pot. od 'j ,!1 ^> a^taorfrte!;' - : 

?& Our carpenter is : making; us : some, -seats and a table. The 
latter) consists of > two:wo9den horses iwith a nioveable top, raade,-ofi;. 
four boards nicely plainedj'and gomed together : the seats are slabs 
about 'f<bur feet 1 oi7g, ^vith four sticlds driven for legs. They . aee o& 
and all to go out of doors at; nightSj'to ilet. the .beds come, in the 
Latter <take day board on the fence. Some wooden pins have been 
driven into the logs on one side of the house^rand boards placed 
upcfn thiem Tor shalyeSy and on ,the>se must repose the milk-pans, 
dishes, -<fec. ; When we -\tould go into the cellar we tiike up an 
entim- l&oai'd ^ind jump down .about four feet. But what are. a few 
trifling inconveniences; in the midst of a world so robed in beauty, so 
garlandedf-wrth flowers 1 

" May 2^^,-r-Papa inquired yesterday at dinner of our landl^Kd* 
if "he -could 1 find us ^washerwoman. His characteristic reply was, 
that h: presumed the widow Lewis: would willingly come and help 
us wash, if she was sure of being ' treated like a hunmn.' ' And 
how shall that be V asked papa. i Oh, if the young ladies will call 
on her. You know tue folks Tound here think you are all so 
proucV Papa looked at me, and I said I- would call if it was not 
too feu; '? Oh they Mv4 just over; tbe;Ml^not^ more than half a mile, 
is i the daughter of eld Mr< j Eteaiii, who ;was,iher^ 
>basJ fee; --c 



JOURNAL. 423 

their wives and two children each, also living with them in the 
house, and then there is another daughter, Jenny Deans, as they 
call her, quite an old girl.' My ideas brightened at the charmed 
name of t Jenny Deans,' and I began to fancy it would be pleasant 
to call and so call we did but the Deans were all gone for the 
cows. We went in and had a little chat with old Mrs. Deans, 
whose pale grey hair neatly folded beneath the plain 
quite beautiful. It was a very comfortable 
clean and stationary floor its tvY^]d^r 
other its large sash, W&doiKjiJK^^ 

' Your howa McfriKb te^ib&wfcMf.fifr^ o^flrosA Upwpfet 



iinf&ito ? fite 
-woff 



morrow. Mamma could not coax $hem to ~4ake it to themsejvfss 



4Ktotoi^ 



ill not 
. to ; our 
il^B^^ 



^p4 to 

tf ^tellSJWi 

the grand washing were placed in^our 



of 

^oW^i^Mta M^^ 
our way beneath those stately old oaks which, shading the flow- 



424 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

eiy lawns, deserve the name of oak orchards. The birds were 
singing and the sun was shining, and not yet were tho dewdrops 
exhaled. Those pert little children of spring, the anemones and 
violets, were everywhere opening their blue eyes. On one side of a 
growing wheatfield, a soft green sward sloped gently to the shore of 
a little gem of a lake, bordered by a stately growth of park-like 
trees on all sides but one, where a heavy growth of tamarack cast a 
deep shadow, beautiful from the contrast of cheerful light. In the 
most picturesque spot on .the borders of this lake was built our 
gipsy fire and around it were gathered such a group ! The 
beau of the morning was the man who owns our log tenement, and 
acts in the double capacity of landlord and laborer ; beside him sat 
upon the same log Jenny Deans. Oh, with what a broken pinion 
came fancy from her dreamland flight and yet she seems a char- 
acter in her way dressed in a gown of many colors, from the oft 
application of a new piece to the old garment. Her ugliness, how- 
ever, faded to a thing of naught beside the Lewis family the 
whole of whom, six in number, were present with us for the entire 
day. * * * * 

" Mamma is beginning to look almost worn out with her many 
cares, and constant watching and anxiety about papa, who suffers 
continually. It seems as if those who sit beside the sick and suffer- 
ing endure half their agony, feel every pain that racks the anguished 
nerves, and almost lose their identity in the strong sympathy that 
hour after hour binds frail woman to the side of the weary couch, 
through long nights suspending every breath and motion of the 
tired frame, longing to hush the very beatings of her heart, lest she 
disturb the light half slumber of the invalid. Ah, these are tho 
hours that take large drafts from life, that dim the flush of youth, 
that drink the dew of the morning. But they give the soul its 
beauty and perfection, and therefore should we rejoice that they are 
woman's allotted task." 

" May 29th. Mrs. B was telling us to-day that many 

people lived for weeks last winter on boiled acorns. It is almost 



JOURNAL. 425 

impossible to get seed for planting potatoes after the eyes were cut 
out, it is said, have sold for ten dollars a bushel." 

"June \st. A barrel of white fish is spoiled to-day. The field 
mice have got into the milk pans and committed suicide." 

"June 2nd. Returning with little Jessie from a visit, as the twi- 
light was beginning to grow shadowy, we crossed the desert marsh 
and came in sight of a lonely house on its verge. On the height 
that overlooked our way, stood a woman looking weird as any 
Meg Merrilies that ever haunted " Ellengowan." Her form was tall, 
straight and very lank, a closely clinging, scanty garment of a 
gloomy gray material added, if possible, to her height ; her head 
was covered with a red bandanna, pinned cornerwise beneath her 
chin, in her hand she held an oaken stick, and just as we came near 
she was lifting up her voice to cry aloud. The shriek formed itself 
into the words, " have you seen Mary ? have you seen Mary or the 
cow ?" I had not seen Mary or the cow, and went on my way- 
wondering. It seems the tall woman is no common person. Ac- 
cording to the heraldry of the wild woods the Winch el's are quite 
a distinguished family. Such distinction would have suited the 
leader of a bandit horde in the dark forests of old Germany, or have 
given renown to one of the fierce barons of feudal times. Uncle 
Jake, as the head of the house is called, inhabits the lonely log cabin 
by the marsh-side, and exercises his taste for cruelty at the expense 
of his cattle instead of the lives of his fellow creatures, so we call 
him an old savage, and probably his name will die with him, as die 
yearly many of his flocks and herds from the effects of his blows. 
Strange to say, however, this rude, fierce man, with all his uncurbed 
passions and taste for club discipline, has never been known to ill- 
treat his wife. It is said she commands his respect in an extraor- 
dinary degree by her quiet dignity of manner and womanly reserve, 
never noticing his violent outbursts of rage, nor interfering in the 
least with his proceedings, though he has during the few years of 
their sojourn here, beaten two cows to death and several oxen. 
Their food is of the coarsest kind, but she asks no luxuries ; the social 
tea-kettle finds no place on their hearth, no chicken scratches in the 



426 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

desolate barnyard, no soft-furred pussy purrs beside the door, no 
dog could live upon the premises ; corn, bread, potatoes, and milk 
when the cow gets leave to live, constitute their bill of fare the year 
round. Only one child and that a daughter has come to the desolate 
home of these people, the Mary who was missing to-night. 

" June 3rd. We had another visitor this afternoon. A pleas- 
ant, kind looking man, of a most excellent countenance, rode up 
to the door and claimed papa as a cousin, and was recognised at 
once though they had not met for twenty years. He has a house 
full of daughters with whom we are to be excellent friends, although 
they live some fifteen miles hence, and he promises us some chickens 
and a kitten, a necessary kind of domestics that we have not yet 
seen in the region round about. A good old woman, too, has sent 
for the washing, which she will perform at her own house, without 
any of us acting as laundry maids. The drove of calves is increas- 
ing, and they begin to talk about sacrificing the two oldest, but 
Liney and Niagara shall not want for petitioners before the house of 
Lords." 

" June 10 th. Rain ! rain ! rain ! For three days the windows 
of heaven have been opened, and torrents of water have fallen ov^er 
the earth, and some few cataracts have found their way through 
our roof, which, by the way, is not shielded by shingles, but covered 
with long slabs held down by poles of tamarack or willow. 

" When the door is open the rain beats in, and when it is closed 
the chimney smokes. The cattle, on social thoughts intent, have 
gathered round the house, from which no fence excludes them, and 
thus increase the mud every body is bringing in on their feet. The 
beds are piled up in one corner ; the table seems more huge than 
ever; the topheavy slab seats are continually tumbling over; 
papa's rheumatism is horrible ; the baby cries because of the 
smoke ; the men, under shadow of the ladder, are mending nets 
and making hoe handles, ox bows,- and whip stocks, and of course 
increasing the general litter with their whittling ; the children are 
building play-houses under the table, and of course greatly facili- 
tating the motion of the pen essaying to write above. The four 



JOURNAL. 427 

little panes of glass just make darkness visible, and around them 
those who would read or write congregate a solemn looking 
assemblage, and as ruminating as those chewing the cud without. 
But the children are coming from under the table asking for a 
story ; the babe consents to go to sleep ; the shavings are swept 
into the fire, which therefore concludes to blaze more and smoke 
less ; our good father is falling into a doze, and so the owl's eyes 
shall be laid aside with madam goose's fragment, and pleasant fairy- 
dom come with its gorgeous dreams at the juvenile bidding. It 
will not take much imagination after this week's experience for them 
to believe that whole nations of people could live in a nut-shell, or 
more magnificent still, inhabit gorgeous palaces within the cup of 
the lily." 



XXV. 

ELIZABETH KENTON* 

THE name of Simon Kenton has a conspicuous place in the annals 
of the early pioneers, second only to that of the renowned woodsman, 
Daniel Boone. One of the counties of Kentucky is named after 
him, and the incidents of his life are related in the history of that 
State and in many biographical sketches, forming a narrative more 
thrilling in interest than any romance ever written. Such instances 
of desperate and mortal encounter, such hairbreadth escapes from 
imminent peril, such hours of fearful suspense and sudden alterna- 
tions from hope to despair, from the very grasp of death to unex- 
pected deliverance, were surely never pictured by pure imagination. 
Born in Virginia, he was involved when scarcely grown to manhood 
in a romantic adventure growing out of rivalry in love, which camo 
near to having a fatal termination, and launched him into life with 
no protection but a resolute spirit and a robust frame. Leaving his 
home, he plunged into the wilderness of the Alleghany mountains, 
and joining parties of explorers and traders, spent two or three years 

* The papers relating to Mrs. Kenton were received after the volume 
was stereotyped, which accident causes the appearance of the memoir thus 
out of its proper place. It should be read next to that of Rebecca Boone, 
I am indebted to the kindness of B. Henkle, Esq., of Rensselaer, Indiana, to 
whom the materials were furnished by the daughter of Gen. Keaton. 



ELIZABETH KENTON. 429 

in hunting and trapping in the neighbourhood of the Kanawha river 
till the breaking out of the war between the Indian tribes and the 
colonies in 1774, in which campaign he did service as a spy. With 
two companions he afterwards penetrated the wilds of Kentucky and 
built a cabin on the spot where now stands the town of Washington, 
aiding the other settlers in their struggles with the Indians, and 
meeting with many adventures. The most remarkable of these 
unparalleled in 'the history of the West is the succession of inci- 
dents that followed his capture by the Indians when carrying off 
some of their horses. For weeks his fate vibrated between life and 
death, the gleams of sunshine quickly followed by deepest gloom, 
no efforts or wisdom of his own availing aught to save him at any 
time, but the changes in his fortune wrought by seeming accidents. 
He was tied, Mazeppa-Iike, on the back of an unbroken horse ; was 
eight times exposed to the gauntlet, and three times bound to the. 
stake, with no prospect of rescue from a terrible death. Once he 
was saved by the interference of Simon Girty, who, learning his 
name, discovered in him an old companion and friend ; once the 
celebrated Mingo chief, Logan, interceded in his behalf, and he was 
rescued by an Indian agent. These experiences, and his after ser- 
vices with Gen. George Rogers Clarke, and in other campaigns to 
the close of Wayne's decisive one, are fully related in recent biogra- 
phies. 

The first wife of' Gen. Kenton was Martha Dowden, to whom ho 
was married about 1785, in Mason County, Kentucky. They lived 
together ten years, when she died, leaving him four children, all of 
whom lived to maturity. The only survivor among them is the wife 
of John McCord, of Urbana, Ohio. 

Elizabeth, the second wife, was the youngest daughter of Stephen 
Jarboe, a native of France, who settled first in Maryland, where he 
married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Clelland. She was a 
well educated woman, and a deeply spiritual Christian, in member- 
ship with the Presbyterian Church. The family removed to Mason 
County, Kentucky, about the year 1796, at which time Elizabeth, 
the daughter, was seventeen years old. Her opportunities of educa- 



430 PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

tion had been such as were usual in that early day, when the 
acquirements of women were generally confined to reading, writing, 
and the elements of arithmetic. 

Not long after the removal to Kentucky, Mr. Jarboe was obliged 
to go to Maryland, whence he was prevented from returning to his 
family by ill health, for seven or eight years. It will be borne in 
mind that travelling, in those days, was no light undertaking. 
Within that time Mrs. Jarboe with her children had removed into 
what is now Clarke County in Ohio. Her home was with her young- 
est son, Philip Jarboe, about four miles north of Springfield, where 
she died in the spring of 1808. Shortly after her death Mr. Jarboe 
was enabled to return, and in the same year, at the same house, he 
also closed his earthly pilgrimage. His acquaintances remember his 
arrival a feeble old man, sadly emaciated, coming, as he said, to 
lay his bones by the side of her who was the companion of his youth. 
After a life of many sorrows they sleep in a quiet spot within sight 
of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, near their last home on 
earth. 

Their daughter Elizabeth was a young woman of rare attractions 
of person and manner, and as it may be supposed, had numerous 
admirers. Among -these a Mr. Reuben Clark had found favor in 
her eyes, and it was expected that she would marry him. But the 
sagacious pioneer and hero of Indian encounters had seen and loved 
her, and moreover had lost none of his early aversion to a rival. 
He gave young Clark some employment which took him to Virginia, 
and would oblige him to be absent a considerable length of time. 
Having removed him from the scene of action, he laid siege presently 
to the heart of the fair lady, and brought the citadel, ere long, to 
terms of capitulation. They were married in the year 1798, at 
Kenton's Station, the Rev. William Wood of the Baptist Church 
officiating ; nor did the wife ever again see her former lover 

A few months after the marriage, General and Mrs. Ken ton re- 
moved to Cincinnati, where they resided six or eight months, and 
removed in the spring of 1799, to what was then called the Mad 
River country. Their first residence was near a trading house kept 



ELIZABETH KENTON. 431 

by a Frenchman named De Baw, about four miles north of Spring 
field. The whole region, at that period, was an almost unbroken 
wilderness, traversed continually by parties of Indians, who, though 
not openly hostile, were exceedingly troublesome. Often when in- 
toxicated they would visit the cabins of the settlers, and finding the 
men absent, by threats extort provisions and .whiskey from the 
women. On one occasion, when there were no men on the premises, 
and all was quiet in Mrs. Kenton's cabin, the door was suddenly 
burst open, and a drunken Indian, entirely naked, came in and de- 
manded whiskey, threatening to kill her, with furious gestures, in 
case of refusal. When he found his menaces were likely to be of 
no avail, he snatched up the child, her eldest daughter, out of the 
cradle, and made for the camp of the savages as fast as his feet could 
carry him. The feelings of the terrified mother cannot easily be 
described ; but her agony of suspense was soon over ; the rest of 
the party immediately brought back the child, and called upon Mrs. 
Kenton to say what punishment should be inflicted on the delinquent. 
She required nothing, however, but to be protected against such 
outrages in future. 

o 

The home of the forest warrior consisted of two roughly con- 
structed log cabins, with the usual accompaniment of puncheon 
floors, mud chimneys, clapboard doors, etc. Here were established 
Kenton's family, composed of himself and wife with five children, 
and his two mothers-in-law with their families, besides some black 
people. Their experiences of privation and suffering during the 
earliest years of the settlement may be understood in some measure 
by those already described ; but there were circumstances which 
added much to the trials that fell to the lot of Mrs. Kenton. The 
General, it will be remembered, being one of the earliest pioneers 
of Kentucky, besides defending the first settlers against their Indian 
foes, had located their pre-emptions, traversing with them the rugged 
mountains and rich valleys in search of the best lands. The latch- 
string of Kenton's cabin always hung outside the door, and a 
welcome was ready for all who sought his hospitality. His 
generosity and habitual kindness to strangers had contributed 



PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

as much as that of any other man in Kentucky to stamp the 
character for liberal hospitality, since proverbially attached to 
the State. He was extensively known, and had the reputation of 
wealth ; his wealth, however, consisted wholly in Kentucky land 
claims, which were totally unproductive, while his cabin was the 
resort of every shelterless emigrant, land hunter, or soldier, and even 
the wandering Indian had liberty at any time to claim the supply 
of his wants. The readers of Gen. Kenton's life will recollect the 
incident of an Indian at old Chilicothe seizing an axe and breaking 

O p 

his arm with it. The name of this savage was Boner, and it was 
afterwards his custom to come frequently to his house, and after eat- 
ing and drinking, amuse the company by acting out a pantomime 
representing his own outbreak of fury, and the terror and grief of 
Mrs. Kenton on that occasion. 

With this continual influx of visitors, for whom provision was 
necessary as well as for the wants of a large family, with means of 
procuring none of the luxuries and but few of the comforts of life, 
and without congenial society, the first ten years of Mrs. Ken ton's 
residence in Ohio were passed in incessant toil and privation, relieved 
by little of the quiet so necessary to one like her, and so ardently 
desired. But she was a seeker of " a better country," and the firm 
faith of a Christian sustained her in every difficulty. In 1808 she 
became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1810, 
Gen. Kenton removed to Urbana, in- Champaign County, where the 
family lived eight years. Here their privations were less, but Mrs. 
Kenton suffered from incessant mental anxiety caused by the injus- 
tice done her husband, and the loss he sustained in endeavoring to 
recover something of his extensive land claims in Kentucky. Being 
wholly uneducated, he was obliged to entrust the management of his 
business to agents who proved dishonest, and involved him in inex- 
tricable lawsuits in which he was mulcted in heavy costs. JSTay 
more, truth compels the record which is a stain upon the national 
honor the barbarous laws then in force, sanctioning these wrongs, 
permitted the imprisonment of the brave pioneer, and his confine- 
ment within " prison bounds," for several of the best years of his 



ELIZABETH KKNTON. 433 

life. Thus was he reduced from a supposed condition of opulence 
to abject poverty, and even pursued like a felon, his free spirit har- 
assed by more than the deprivation of liberty to the limbs, the 
sense of cruel injustice and oppression. 

Mrs. Ken ton possessed a disposition peculiarly sensitive, and these 
wrongs and sorrows embittered what should have been the happiest 
years of her life. In 1818, having procured a small portion of 
wild land in what is now Logan County, they took up their resi- 
dence upon it, obtaining from it a meagre living, for from those 
who had thronged around them in the days of their prosperity. 
In 1836, after enduring much suffering, Gen. Kenton departed this 
life, rejoicing in the prospect of one where his portion could not be 
taken from him. His faithful wife attended him in his painful 
illness with the assiduous tenderness and care bestowed by a mother 
on her child. Her spirits, already weighed down by calamity, were 
broken, and her strong constitution impaired by the exertions neces- 
sary in this labor of love, and after her husband's death she never 
recovered her health or cheerfulness. In the same year she removed 
to Indiana. Her strength gradually declined until the autumn of 
1842, when she became almost helpless. Having long looked on 
approaching death with calmness and Christian hope, she quietly 
made a disposition of her remaining effects, leaving to each of her 
children and grand-children a small bequest, in token of affectionate 
remembrance. To the sons of her eldest daughter, Mrs. Parkison, 
she left quilts on which she had wrought their names with her own 
hand. Her faculties were retained perfectly to the last, though she 
spoke not for some hours before the final moment. Her sufferings 
terminated at the residence of J. G. Parkison, her son-in-law, in 
Jasper County, Indiana, Nov. 27th, 1842. 

Mrs. Kenton was rather tall, and had a very graceful figure ; her 
complexion was extremely fair, and she had blue eyes and dark 
hair. Her daughter, Mrs. Parkison, describes her appearance on 
one occasion, on returning from Dayton, thirty miles distant, where 
she had been to acknowledge a deed. She wore a dark calico dress 
made in the fashion then called a habit ; long-waisted, and the 
19 



4:34: PIONEER WOMEN OF THE WEST. 

skirt plaited full all around ; over this a "Joseph," or short riding 
dress of brown cassimere, with green spots, and a green silk or 
satin bonnet differing little from the late fashion, without a cap. 

This lady remembers, among the visitors at her father's house, 
old Isaac Zane, who had an Indian wife. He brought his half- 
breed daughter to be instructed by Mrs. Kenton in the knowledge 
and manners of the white ladies. Ebenezer Zane, his son, was also a 
frequent visitor, and told Miss Kenton he had named his little 
daughter Matilda after her. The child received the customary 
present, and some twenty years afterwards Mrs. Parkison was sur- 
prised at being shown a piece of the new dress given her little name- 
sake by the General. Mrs. Parkison still resides in Indiana. 



. I ft 3