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20 May 1815 | Marthasville, MO
Please remember to read this knowing that these are accounts at the time or relatively shortly thereafter, and not my opinions of what went on at the edges of the west between incoming European settlers and native Americans.
# William S. Bryan and Robert Rose, A History or the Pioneer Families of Missouri (1876) p. 101
A lad named Abner Bryan, a son of Jonathan Bryan was boarding at the house of Jesse Caton (who lived near the present site of Marthasville), attending school, and had been sent to Ramsey's that morning on some errand. He left only a short time before the attack, and no doubt narrowly escaped death. Jesse Caton, Jr, a son of the gentleman just mentioned, was hunting some of his father's horses in the woods, and while crossing a ravine near Ramsey's house, discovered the tracks of the Indians, and immediately afterward the yelling and firing commenced at the house. He ran home as quickly as possible, and gave the alarm, and several members of the family started at once to warn their neighbors. By eight o'clock the news had spread all over the settlements, and a large party of armed men were in pursuit of the Indians, while others remained to take care of the wounded. Colonel Booone, who was in Callaway's Fort, at Charette, was sent for to dress their wounds, his long experience in such matters having rendered him very efficient. The news of the massacre had preceded the messenger, and when he arrived at the fort Boone was pacing up and down in front of an open space in the stockades, which had not been completed, with his gun on his shoulder, and whistling in his usual undisturbed manner.
On the morning of May 20, 1815, Indians attacked Robert Ramsey and his family. He, his pregnant wife Sally, daughter Lizzie and two other children all died from the brutal and fatal wounds they received. Two young children, Rachel, about five years old, and John, not yet two years old, survived the attack.
Nathan Boone carried the news to St. Louis. The following account was printed in the MISSOURI GAZETTE AND ILLINOIS ADVERTISER, May 27, 1815, page 2, column 4:
Footnote 52 - # State Historical Society of Missouri, Newspaper Library.
Major Nathan Boon, arrived in town on sunday evening last, brings the melancholy news, that on Saturday morning last, about fifteen Indians approached the dwelling house of Mr. Robert Ramsay, of Saint Charles county---killed three of his children, and dangerously wounded him and his wife. Of the recovery of Mrs. Ramsay there is no hope. The children were scalped and horridly butchered. Mr. Ramsay lived about two miles from the old Charette village, in the heart of an important settlement; and not more than sixty miles hence. One of the little children of the family, made his escape and sounded the alarm. The neighbors, as soon as they could, gave pursuit, but as yet nothing has been heard from them.
The Indians who have committed the above atrocious murder, are no doubt a part of those hellish bands who rendezvous at Rock river; to whom a pipe has been sent, and to whom a messenger is now bound, to invite them to a consummation of the Ghent treaty.
It cannot for a moment be believed that a treaty will bind these inhuman butchers; nothing but exemplary chastisement will teach them to respect our borders.
Followed in the same newspaper by:
Copy of a letter from a gentleman in St. Charles County, to the editor.
You have no doubt heard of the butchery of Robert Ramsey and his family, by the savages. It was attended with these traits of horrible acts of cruelty which mark the progress of the allies of England. Mrs. Ramsey was tending the milking of her cows, and her pretty little children were amusing themselves, feeding the poultry, and assisting their mother. Mr. Ramsey, who you know has but one leg, was near his wife at the moment the first shot was fired. He saw his wife fall and succeeded to lead her into the house, but as he reached the door he received a wound which prevented him to go to the relief of his children who were caught by the indians and cut to pieces in the yard. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey are dead, both were shot through the abdomen. Mrs. R. was far advanced in pregnancy.
The two children who survived the massacre, Rachel G(ordon) Ramsey and John Ramsey, were raised by their Smith relatives in Bonhomme Township, St. Louis County, and shared in the estate of their grandfather, Dr. Samuel Smith.
Footnote 57 - # St. Louis, Missouri Probate File #40.
The Rev. Salmon Giddings of Bonhomme Presbyterian Church baptized these orphans of Robert and Sally Smith Ramsey on November 19, 1816.
Footnote 58 - # Peggy Johnson, "Old Stone Church Restoration Ceremony,"" Community Press, 1973.
Henry Smith, brother of Sarah Smith Ramsey was appointed guardian of his nephew, John Ramsey in 1829.
Footnote 59 - # St. Louis, Missouri Guardianship File #107.