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Indian Captives & Their Stories
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Murders of the German Family
he Atlanta Constitution
March 26, 1875
Surrender of the Murders of the German Family-
The Story of the Survivors.
[Cheyenne (Indian Nation) Letter to N. Y. Herald.
This wild western country, uninhabited save by big strolling bands of Indians with,
here and there a government post, has never known a tragedy that equals that committed
in Central Kansas, September 11, 1874.
General Thomas Neil is the commander of the post, and in answer to a question by the
Herald correspondent as to the manner of the surrender of the Cheyenne’s he said:
“Stone Calf, the chief of the Cheyenne , came into the post on February 9th, saying that
the tribe would surrender. I sent out an ambulance for the two German girls, Catherine and
Sophia and on the 25th they were brought in. They were in a terrible condition. All the garments
they wore was an old army blanket, and their face and bodies were daubed with paint.
Mr. John D. Miles, the United States Indian Agent, took them immediately to his house,
where they were dressed and properly cared for.”
Catherine, the eldest is but seventeen years old, and is a young lady of neat figure and rather handsome.
From her manner it is evident that she has been well reared and that her family was well to do in the world.
Sophia fared better in here trials. She is eleven years of age, and like her sister, has dark hair ands blue eyes.
She is tall and well developed foe one of her years. Both of them were treated very horribly while with the
Indians, as their present condition shows.
Both were subjected to indescribable indignities and beastly outrages by nearly all the male Indians.
The family consisted of John German his wife, Lydia, and seven children, as follows:
Rebecca, 21; Stephen, 19, Johanna, 15, Catherine, 17; Sophia, 11; Julia, 7, and Nancy 5.
Five years ago they left Morgantown, Fannin County, Ga., and removed to Howell county, Mo.
In May, 1872 they removed to Merryville, Stone county, Mo., and in the following September
they emigrated to Elgin Howard County, Kansas, from which place they started to Colorado and
on the journey they were all with the exception of four murdered. On arriving at Smoky Hill River,
in the central part of Kansas only about fourteen miles from the Kansas Pacific Railroad, and
within thirty miles of Fort Wallace, they were attacked by the Indians.
Catherine, in an interview with a reporter of The Herald, said:
“Just as the sun was rising, and while engaged in driving the cattle up the river bank towards the wagon,
I heard shouts and yells, and running closer, saw my father fall, shot through the back by an Indian.
I was terribly frightened, but I can never forget the spectacle that there ensued.
My brother Stephen was a half mile away hunting up some stock, and he had a gun with him.
As poor father fell mother rushed toward him only to receive a shot from another Indian
who fired at her head, killing her almost instantly. My father was not killed at once, for
he moved his arms about as he was scalped by one of the party. They also scalped my mother.
An old squaw picked up our axe and struck it in my father’s head, leaving it fixed in his skull.
During the time this was going on one party rode after Stephen and shot and scalped him.
My sister, Rebecca, made a brave defense with an axe; she knocked down one of the Indians,
and would have killed him if she had not been tomahawked from behind. While half insensible,
and scarcely alive the Indians (five or six of them) despoiled her person and after that scalped her.
They then carried her neat the wagon tore off her clothes, piled them over her, with some other
things from the wagon, and while she was still alive set fire to the pile ands burdened her up.
Here the broken hearted girl broke down and the reporter waited some time before she could
proceeded Amidst sobs and tears, and in broken utterances she continued as follows, occasionally assisted by Sophia:
“After all were killed but we five sisters, they gathered around us to see which one should be put out of the way,
as they said they could only take four along. One Indian, who seemed to be a chief, came up and
looked at Johanna and me, suddenly drew up his gun and shot my sister’s head off. I was so
frightened that I could not stir for a long time. As soon as they got everything they wanted they
set the wagon on fire and killed the cattle; then made Sophia ands I get on horses and tied us on,
took our to little sisters up in front of them and started off as fast as the horses could go.
We traveled all day, going due south. I should judge. One squaw tried to save
Rebecca’s life; but the Indian she hit with the axe said he would have her scalp, and so she was shot.
After traveling two days we crossed a railroad track. The day after we got over the railroad Medicine
Man, with a small party left, and were gone until late in the afternoon. When they came up to us they
had three fresh scalps and a number of articles of wearing apparel that must have belonged to a man,
woman and small child; also had a lot of canned fruit and oysters.
after keeping us riding nearly two weeks the main camp near the Staked Plains was reached.
Stone Calf had command and when they brought us in all the tribe turned out and had a great time.
The same night they had a big scalp dance over the scalps of our family and made us all look at it.
Two days after the main body of Indians was reached. They took sister Julia and Nancy away
from the camp and I have never seen them since.
Sophia saw them once, about December but for only a few minutes.
Al of us were one day placed on horses and after the Indian fashion made to ride as fast as
horses could go and the Indian who caught us had to take care of us for good.
Soon after this the whole body started north to get out of the way of the troops which, it was reported,
were close at hand. Stone Calf, with Sophia, was left behind with about one hundred more, and the rest
under charge of Gray Beard, Eagle Head, Heaps of Bird, and Lean Bear still kept on the north.
In about a week, while encamped on Wolf Creek, the soldiers again made the Indians run.
I did not see them, but heard the guns. All of this time I was on horseback, and a good
deal of the time very sick, had to ride all the time and at night was often whipped and
beaten because I could not carry as much wood and water as some of the squaws.
All this time I was under charge of Long Back. At times I was nearly frozen, having
nothing but a blanket to keep warm with at night. Sometimes there would be a foot
of snow on the ground, but they made me work just as hard This was about December 1st.
My feet were frozen, and the nails on my right foot all came off. In January I met sister
Sophia for a short time, and she told me we were better to be killed.
The reporter asked Catherine if she thought they would kill her, and she answered,
“No; I always thought the soldiers would release us some time, and told Sophia not to be afraid.
In the latter part of January I received a letter from General Neil, brought to the camp by a Kiowa scout,
telling me to keep up good spirits and the soldiers would soon capture us.
A second letter was received after this but the Indians would not let me open it.
They said (this section black, blotted) ????? not let me take it. ?? hands. As soon as the letter was received I felt ever so much better.
We had little to eat. Horses and dogs were all the meat we had to eat.
(Next10 lines looks like ink blot unable to read)
Calf. At last Medicine Water came to my lodge and told me I was to be given up. I asked him to let
me see Sophia, and he answered, sister dead. I did not believe him, and one day Stone Calf told me she was alive and well.
About two weeks ago I saw a four horse wagon coming toward our camp, and as soon as it was near enough
I started to run out to meet it. The Indian would not let me, but made me go in to the tent.
Soon Romeo came to me and spoke to me in English. It was the first time I had heard it for months. He said
I might go with him and he would take good care of me. I got into the ambulance, and there for the first time in two months saw Sophia.
We at once left the Indians behind in two days came in sight of the soldiers tents where I saw General Nell,
Mrs. Miles and all the rest who were so kind to me. I could not help crying.
Mrs. Miles is as kind as a mother to us.
Did they take all the clothes away from you at the time you wee captured?
Yes; and only gave me an old blanket to keep warm with.
Can you identify the Indians who made the attack on your family?
I have seen them 50 times since and can tell them all.
How many were there?
Seventeen men and two squaws.
Have you seen the squaw who hit your father with an axe?
Was Medicine Water one of the war party?
He seemed to be the leader
Did they scalp all the family after they were killed?
All except Johanna. She had been sick and her hair was very short.
How was Sophia treated after she left you?
From what she tells me she had a much easier time than I had.
She was only whipped once or twice and did not have to carry so much wood and water.
Where will you go, now that you are rescued from the Indians?
I don’t know yet, she replied. I would prefer to remain her rather than return to Georgia.
If Sophia and I can get a good education here, I had rather remain here than go any where they are so good to me.
- March 26, 1875
In the year 1745, had a remarkably good crop, after living at this place for several years. He and several of the men went to mill. They had a long distance to go, probably to Winchester, Va. which at that time was the center of trade for north-eastern Virginia. When they returned to the settlement, they found that the Mohawk Indians had raided it, killed or taken prisoners the inhabitants, burned the homes, destroyed the crops, and driven off the livestock." The first wife of Frederick Ice, named Nelly (? some accounts have her as Mary), and three of her children were captured in an Indian raid probably in 1752. Taken by the Indians along with the mother, were Christine, and William and Mary. .There may also have been a fourth daughter, Margaret, but, John Ice (with father Frederick trading during the raid) mentioned losing two sisters to the Indians, not three.
The birth dates of the children of this first marriage are not certain.
1. Mary Ice (born about 1737, died after 1825) - Captured by Indians, visited the Ice family when an old woman (1825) but preferred to stay with the Indians. Tradition has it that she was the mother of Tecumseh. (not proved and now doubted).
2. Christena Ice - Captured by Indians, married an Indian, had 3 children, died of natural causes at about age 25. (not proved).
3. William Ice (born about 1740?, died 1826) ("Indian Billy") was captured by Indians, escaped, returned to his family, was an Indian fighter, Revolutionary soldier, buried at Ice Cemetery, Barrackville, W. Va. He married 3 times, with at least 16 children According to an anecdote told at the 12th annual Ice Reunion in Monongalia County in 1935, after living with Indians for some years he escaped, went east to Pittsburgh, then to Philadelphia and to Europe where he visited the country his father had come from. Returning to America, he hired out to work on the Mason and Dixon Line survey (this would be between 1763 and 1767, probably closer to the latter). Frederick Ice's second wife, learning that a worker on the Line (only 2 miles from the Ice Ferry) had once been captured by Indians, investigated and found that it was her husband's son William. It was a happy reunion.
Another tradition passed down has it that William enjoyed indian life and did not want to leave the tribe.Note: Indian Billy's brother .John "Old Lonely" Ice (born about 1739, murdered in 1796) Unmarried. He lived at the Forks of Buffalo Creek (present Mannington, W. Va.) and had a trading post there. He he became famous in life for a hatred of all indians (killed a known sixteen) revenging the loss of his sweetheart, his sisters, and his mother. He became the best tracker in the area and was included in many rescue attempts of indian captives and served as a scout in the Revolutionary Army duringthe war.
Frederick Ice remarried to Elinor Livingstone (Ellen, or Nelly), a widow with one child. (Her name is given as Leviston in some Bible records.) She is said to have been the daughter of a Scottish army officer. Frederick Ice came across the mountains (west) in about 1759, where he established Ice's Ferry on the Cheat River in (now) West Virginia just south of the Pennsylvania border. The town Fredrick Ice established "Ice's Ferry" was covered when the river was dammed in the 1920's. A memorial to the town and the family cemetery can still be located beside the lake. Eric L. Ice Phoenix, AZ
Wichterman firstname.lastname@example.org : The following is based - in part - on Glen Lough's book, "Now and Long Ago", a history of Marion County, West Virginia, and partly on family tradition.
Frederick Ice was an early settler on the South Branch of the Potomac River in Frederick County, Virginia. Early one morning (possibly 1752, but perhaps much earlier) indians raided their cabin. Frederick and his oldest son, John, were away from home at the time. Frederick's wife, Mary (Galloway), was killed outside the cabin. Their other children, William, Christina, and Marguerite, were taken away by the indians. Christina and Marguerite (Mary) were never to return, although they were reported to have been seen by indian traders and refused rescue. They both are said to have married indians and became willing members of the indian community. William lived with the indians for a number of years before he escaped or was released by Col. Bouquet. He eventually found his father, who had remarried and moved further into the frontier to what is today Monongalia County, West Virginia. He became very useful to other settlers because of his knowledge of indian ways. William was friendly to many indians who traveled through the area, but was very fearsome in times of troubles with them.
Here's what Mark Ludwig says in the introduction of the book "The Captive"
the reprint of her narrative:
"She was probably born in England in 1635, the daughter of one of the original proprietors of Lancaster Massachusetts, John White. She married the Rev. Joseph Rowlandson in Lancaster around 1656 and continued there until it was sacked in 1676."
She was held in captivity for three months. The book lists the year of her death as c. 1678. Also, from the back cover, "this story was once widely regarded as a classic of American literature.
Just did a quick search for genealogy info on her -- these sources say
that she died c. 1710/1711.
One of her children is named Joseph:
BIRTH: Mar 1660, Lancaster, MA, USA
DEATH: 1712, Weathersfield, CT, USA
Married Hannah WILSON
Mary White was probably born in England to parents who immigrated in 1639. Her father was, at his death, wealthier than any of his neighbors in Lancaster, Massachusetts. She married Joseph Rowlandson in 1656; he was ordained as a Puritan minister in 1660. They had four children, one of whom died as an infant.
In 1676, near the end of King Philip's War, a group of Nipmunk and Narragansett Indians attacked Lancaster, burned the town and captured many of the settlers. Rev. Joseph Rowlandson was on his way to Boston at the time, to raise troops to protect Lancaster. Mary Rowlandson and her three children were among them. Sarah, 6, died in captivity of her wounds.
Rowlandson used her skill in sewing and knitting so she was useful while the Indians moved around in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to elude capture by the colonists. She met with the Wampanoag chief, Metacom, who had been named King Philip by the settlers.
Three months after the capture, Mary Rowlandson was ransomed for £20. She was returned at Princeton, Massachusetts, on May 2, 1676. Her two surviving children were released soon after. Their home had been destroyed in the attack, so the Rowlandson family reunited in Boston.
Joseph Rowlandson was called to a congregation in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1677. In 1678, he preached a sermon about his wife's captivity, "A Sermon of the Possibility of God's Forsaking a People that have been near and dear to him." Three days later, Josephson died suddenly. The sermon was included with early editions of Mary Rowlandson's captivity narrative.
Rowlandson married Captain Samuel Talcott in 1679, but no later details of her life are known except some court testimony in 1707, her husband's death in 1691 and her own death in 1710/11.
Her book was written to retell the details of Mary Rowlandson's captivity and rescue in the context of religious faith. The book was originally titled The Soveraignty & Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed; Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Commended by her to all that Desire to Know the Lord's Doings to, and Dealings with Her. Especially to her Dear Children and Relations.
The English edition (also 1682) was retitled A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, A Minister's Wife in New-England: Wherein is set forth, The Cruel and Inhumane Usage she underwent amongst the Heathens for Eleven Weeks time: And her Deliverance from them. Written by her own Hand, for her Private Use: and now made public at the earnest Desire of some Friends, for the Benefit of the Afflicted. The English title emphasized the capture; the American title emphasized her religious faith.
The book became an immediate best-seller, and went through many editions. It is widely read today as a literary classic, the first of what became a trend of "captivity narratives" where white women, captured by Indians, survived over overwhelming odds. Details (and assumptions and stereotypes) about the life of women among the Puritan settlers and in the Indian community are valuable to historians.
Despite the overall emphasis (and title, in England) stressing "cruel and inhumane usage... amongst the heathens," the book is also notable for conveying an understanding of the captors as individuals who suffered and faced tough decisions -- as human beings with some sympathy towards their captives (one gives her a captured Bible, for example). But beyond being a story of human lives, the book is also a Calvinist religious treatise, showing the Indians as instruments of God sent to "be a scourge to the whole Land."
Eliza Jane Kirk
John Kirk, Sr., and his son John, Jr. (about 18), and a younger son Joseph, had gone to the mill. Some Cherokees appeared at the home and killed the wife and 5 or 6 kids. One daughter was still barely alive when the men returned and identified the Indians (the family had often fed them and they had been friendly in the past, evidently). Then the girl died.
John, Jr. went out for revenge with some other men, including John Sevier.
The found the Indians in question (and probably some not involved).but John Sevier left the men and went off somewhere, knowing the state of mind they were in and aware of what would
likely happen. The Indians showed the white flag, the men crossed the river. The Indians, several old and famous chiefs among them, were in a hut. After Sevier left, someone gave John, Jr.(or he picked up) a hatchet and told him to go get his revenge. He went in the hut and killed 6-7 Indians.
A hue and cry went up (on both sides) and John Sevier ended up getting a lot of the blame. Sometime after this, John, Jr., wrote a letter to one of the Indians that is supposed to have been published in the GA Gazette. In the letter, John, Jr., accepts responsibility for his
actions to spare John Sevier.
All this happened when Sevier was trying to get the State of Franklin
organized and boundaries were changing. The Cherokees were signing treaties
with NC, the US, and Franklin. The Kirks thought they were in NC, but were
actually settled on Indian land.
This story is well documented as it appears in "History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, 1748-1920" by Wm. C. Pendleton and "History of Middle New River" published in 1906 by David E. Johnston.
John McGriff and his son Thomas McGriff.
mIn 1774 bands of Virginia militia were being formed to march to Ohio to join Colonel Andrew Lewis and would ultimately participate in the Battle of Point Pleasant. While these companies were being enlisted and assembled, a small band of Shawnee Indians came up the Tug River, crossed over to and down Wolf Creek to New River in what is now Giles County, Virginia. They proceeded up the stream to the homes of John Lybrook and John McGriff on the East side of New River. just below the mouth of Sinking Creek. On Sunday, August 7, 1774 they made an attack upon a group of children who were playing on the bank of the river.
Three of Lybrook's children, one a nursing infant, a young women by the name of Scott, and two little girls of a visiting neighbor, a Mrs Snidow, were killed. John Lybrook was at the small mill he had built near his home and was wounded in the arm. John McGriff shot and mortally wounded one of the Indians.
Several years later the remains of the Indian were found under rocks at the base of a cliff near the scene of the tragedy. Three small boys, Theophilus and Jacob Snidow and Thomas McGriff, were made captives and taken away by the Indians. On the following Wednesday night, while camping on Pipestem Knob on Blue Lake in present Summers County, West Virginia, two of the boys, Jacob Snidow and Thomas McGriff, made a daring and successful escape by hiding in a hollow tree until the Indians got tired of looking for them and left with their remaining prisoner, Theophilus Snidow.
As the poor boys were working their way back home they were met by a band of militia sent to try to rescue them. The two boys were safely returned home to their families. Many years later, Theophilus Snidow would be returned home in a prisoner exchange but would die shortly thereafter suffering greatly as a slave of the Indians.
Jacob Snidow would remain in the Giles County area and has many descendants still living there today. Thomas McGriff went on to enlist in the Revolutionary War in the South Carolina Militia at 16 years old. He survived the war and eventually moved to Preble County, Ohio where he and his 11 children have many descendants today.
Frances was captured at age 5, lived with the Miami Indians, of Indiana, and eventually found nearly 60 years later in Indiana by Mr. Ewing, a trader and fluent in many languages.
Ewing wrote to Pennslyvania postmaster (Frances remembered her father's surname, but not her own given name, and did not speak English), and brother Joseph, of Pennsylvania, responded, as well as sister Mary, of Ohio, and another brother. Even though Frances was old, the family identified her by the missing fingernail she lost at the blacksmith's at age 4.
Eventually, they started talking through an translator, and Frances told them of growing up and treated as an Indian, marrying, and having two daughters. They asked if she would come home, she told them, "No, I cannot; I have always lived with the Indians; they have always treated me kindly." Her brother, Joseph, returned in later years to visit. Frances died at about 74 and buried in Indiana. "Now there is a Frances Slocum Trail thirty miles long running from Peru to Marion, Indiana. There Indian graveyards, battlefields, and cabins may be found. Her grave, marked by a small monument, and her little door-yard may be seen. Her cabin is gone but a little stone doorstep remains. This place was given for a park, and here many of her descendants gather to remember her." (Submitted by Burlyn M. Rector, great-grandson of Rebecca Slocum)
CE Slocum's "Slocums of America" (1882) states she died in 1847.
The Story of Frances Slocum aka "The Lost Sister Story", THE MORNING REPUBLICAN: Scranton (PA), Saturday, June 19, 1869
From the Chicago Standard, THE LOST SISTER, FRANCES SLOCUM.
A Visit to Her Descendants. BY G. S. BAILEY, D. D.
The story of Frances Slocum is one of thrilling interest. She was stolen by the Delaware Indians from her father's house near Wilkes-Barre, in Wyoming Valley, Luzerne county, Pa., on the second day of November, 1778, when she was a child five years of age. They took her from the house in broad daylight before the eyes of her mother, and that mother never saw her child again. The brothers of Frances, Joseph and Isaac Slocum, grew to manhood and advanced to old age, making inquiry and search for their lost sister whenever they could hear of any white woman among the Indian tribes who they thought might be their sister, sometimes offering large rewards in money for her discovery. More than sixty years passed away before they found the lost sister. She was at last discovered, as the widow of an Indian Chief, living on the banks of the Mississenawa(sic) river, about seven miles from its mouth, where it empties into the Wabash, near Peru in Indiana.
As I was born in the same county from which Frances Slocum was stolen and acquainted with many of her relatives, and had heard my mother tell the story when I was a child and before she was discovered, and having read the accounts given in the several histories of Wyoming concerning her, I had a strong desire to visit her descendants, and her Indian home. Finding myself unexpectedly at Peru, Indiana, a few days ago, I made inquiries in regard to her and her discovery, and was happy to learn that the man who first found her was still residing at Peru--James T. Miller, exq., now the county treasurer of Miami county. I had the pleasure of hearing from him the particulars of the story.
Mr. Miller was a Indian trader and interpreter, making Peru the headquarters of his operations, and had lived there from childhood, and learned the Miami Indian tongue, and for many years the savages were almost his only neighbors and associates. Col. Geo. W. Ewing was the Indian agent stationed at Logansport, Ind. In January, 1835, Mr. Miller and Col. Ewing were traveling through the forests, and being belated and the Colonel not feeling well, Mr. Miller proposed that they should go and stop over night with the white woman among the Indians. Colonel Ewing had never heard of any white woman among the Indians there, but Mr. Miller assured him there was one, the wife of the Deaf Man, as her husband was called by the whites, because he became totally deaf when between thirty and forty years of age. They soon fell into a trail in the snow, made by the white woman's son-in-law, Brouillette, who had killed a deer and taken it home. Colonel Ewing suggested to Mr. Miller that they should find out the history of this white woman, and if possible make her known to her relatives. They were kindly and hospitably received at her log house on the bank of the Mississenawa, and found her in such poor health that she thought she would not live long. She was then an old woman and being under the impression she would soon die she was more than ever before ready to give some items of her history. Mr. Miller drew her into conversation about herself, and Col. Ewing sat behind her and noted down the items which he caught from the conversation.
She remembered that the Delaware Indians came to her father's house and carried her off when she was a very little girl; that her father was a Quaker, wore a broad-brimmed hat and a round coat, and his name was Slocum; that he lived on the Susquehanna river near a fort. Several of the family were away from the house when the Indians came, but her mother, sister, and brother were there. The Indians took what things they wanted from the house, and while they were pillaging, Frances and her little brother hid under the stairs. But the Indians discovered her, picked her up and carried her off screaming. Her elder sister caught up her little brother and ran off with him, and thus saved him from the savages. A boy that was living with the Slocums was shot by the Indians as he was grinding a knife near the door. Two other children, whose name she thought was Kingsley, were taken by the Indians at the same time, but as they cried constantly, the Indians became tired of them and killed them. They stopped the first night in a cave, where the Indians had left their blankets and other articles while they went out on this raid. Frances soon learned the Indian language and forgot her own. They wandered a different times from place to place, living for while near Niagara, then near Detroit, then at Fort Wayne, and finally on the Mississenawa.
Colonel Ewing, on his return to Logansport, desired to make some effort to discover her relatives, as they were still probably living. He wrote the facts which he had learned, to the Postmaster of Lancaster, Pa., and suggested their publication. The Postmaster received the letter, but thinking it all a hoax, threw it aside as worthless. After his death his wife found the letter among his old papers, some two years after it was written, and sent it to an editor in Lancaster, who published it in his paper. A copy of this paper fell into the hands of Joseph Slocum, then residing in Wyoming Valley, who immediately recognized the facts as those connected with his lost sister. He at once wrote to Colonel Ewing, and became satisfied that this was his lost sister Frances.
Isaac Slocum, another brother, had moved to Ohio, near Sandusky. On learning of the discovery of his sister, he started at once to find her. In May 1838, he came to Peru, Indiana, stopped at the hotel, and sent at once for Mr. Miller, who kept a store in the village; but Mr. Slocum not sending word as to his name or errand, Mr. Miller was told that an old gentleman, a stranger, was at the hotel, and wished to see him. He replied that he was busy and could not go. Soon a boy came with a request that Mr. Miller should come immediately, as the old man was very anxious to see him. He sent word that he would come in half an hour. Soon the boy came back and said the old man was very anxious to see him at once. Mr. Miller then went, leaving two Indian girls in the store till he should come back. They were the daughters of Frances Slocum! Mr. Miller went to the hotel and instantly recognized the old man as a brother of the white woman, by their strong family resemblance, and at once went up to him and called him Mr. Slocum. The old man asked how he knew his name was Slocum.
"By your resemblance to the white woman who lives among the Indians."
Mr. Slocum burst into tears. "Is it possible that I have found her at last, after a search of sixty years?"
"Yes, you must be her brother. Two of her daughters are now in town and at my store."
"I want to see them. I will go with you."
"Yes, I wish you to see them, but I think I had better see them first, and you come down to my store with this boy in about twenty minutes."
Mr. Miller went and told the girls that he had found their uncle. They did not believe it.
"Yes, he is certainly your uncle. He looks very much like your mother."
"No, we do not believe he is our uncle. Others have claimed to be our relatives when they were not."
"Well, he is coming yonder with that boy. Now you look at him and see if he does not look like your mother."
They stood and watched him as he came up. The oldest girl was convinced and greeted him cordially and shook hands. The youngest girl ran to the back end of the store and began to cry. Mr. Miller tried to pacify her.
"Yes, I know it is my mother's brother, and he has come to take my mother and carry her off."
"No, he has only come to see her and make her a visit."
Mr. Miller at length persuaded her to come and speak to her uncle, though she was evidently afraid he had come to carry off her mother.
It was then late in the afternoon, but Mr. Slocum insisted on going that night to see his sister, some eight or nine miles distant. Mr. Miller accompanied him, but was careful to send the girls home by the shortest route to apprise their mother of their coming, while he purposely took a longer route. When on the way he asked Mr. Slocum if she had any certain mark by which he could recognize his sister.
"Yes; a lock of hair over one ear was perfectly white, while all the rest was sandy."
"Well, but all her hair may be white now. She is an old woman. Have you any other mark?"
"Yes; my brother one day hit her finger with a hammer on the anvil in the shop, and pounded off the end of her forefinger on her left hand. That mark she must carry still."
They reached the banks of the Mississenawa, just opposite her house, which stood so near the bank that subsequently it had to be moved to a higher point a few rods distant. Mr. Miller requested Mr. Slocum to remain on the bank until he crossed and saw the white woman. He forded the river, went to the house, and shook hands with the woman. The fingers on the right hand were all perfect. He took up the left hand, and the end of the forefinger was gone. He was fully convinced. The girls were already at home and had told the story. Mr. Miller went back and came over with Mr. Slocum. The long separated brother and sister were soon clasped in each other's arms. There was no reserve. She at once recognized the family resemblance, and acknowledged the relation. She could talk but very little English. Mr. Slocum was overcome and wept. The fountains pent up so long during his disappointed search, were now opened. He had found his lost sister, and his grateful emotions could only be expressed in a flood of tears. She was more composed. Supper was prepared. Mr. Slocum could not eat. He was too happy, too excited. When Mr. Miller retired to rest, the brother and sister were sitting side by side on a bench, talking as best they could. When he awoke in the morning they were sitting in the same place talking still. He thought they had talked all night.
The next day they went to Peru, where Isaac Slocum entertained his Indian relatives and they thus returned his visit. After a few days Mr. Slocum returned (to) his home in Ohio. Subsequently Joseph Slocum and his two daughters visited Frances at her Indian home. They endeavored to pursuade her to return home with them, but she was completely an Indian in language, habits, associations, and everything except blood, and she had no desire to leave those who had always treated her kindly, and abundantly provided for her. She was then an old woman, and could not expect to live many years. She was a queen among the Indians, and could never expect to feel at home in civilized society. She died in 1847. Her relatives had secured a grant of a section of land for her and her descendants. She had two sons and two daughters. The oldest daughter was married to Jean Baptiste Brouilette, a half-breed French and Indian. Her second daughter has lost three husbands, and is now living with the fourth, Wa-sa-pe-tah, now the Rev. Peter Bondy, a Baptist minister who preaches to his people in their native tongue.
The day following my interview with Mr. Miller, I went in company with Rev. Mr. Trenneman, in a buggy, to visit the descendants of Frances Slocum. We crossed the Wabash on a bridge at Peru, and some two or three miles beyond we crossed the Mississenawa, a mile or two from its mouth, also on a fine covered bridge. This is a beautiful stream of clear, crystal water, running over a rocky bottom, and bordered by beautiful woodlands or richly cultivated bottom lands. This fine brick two-story farm house just before us, with a nice garden, orchard, and out-houses, is the home of Godfrey, the half-breed war chief of the tribe. Those men there at work with wagon and team are Indians, and those boys at work in the garden have also the tawny hue, though in all other respects they seem like other boys. About half the houses we pass are the homes of Indians, though we cannot guess from any of the surroundings, whether the owners are whites or Indians. Here we are upon the banks of the Mississenawa, some twenty or thirty feet above its surface, and beneath us, forming the perpendicular bank, are some curiously formed bluffs of lime rock, with caves and grottoes in which pic-nic parties sometimes find a pleasant resort. The river has made a large bend, and now we reach it and ford its bright, clear waters, which do not quite reach our feet in the buggy.
Passing now a group of homes and a mill or two, a rather shabby village called Peoria, very different from the beautiful city of that name in Illinois, a mile beyond we reach the home of Frances Slocum, the lost sister. On a beautiful rounded knoll, some twenty rods from the Mississenawa, and perhaps fifty feet above its surface, stands a double log house with a wide passage between the two parts, but one roof covering the whole, with porches the whole length both front and rear, and plain home-like look about the yard. This was the home of the white woman, and here resides her daughter O-sou-wa-pak-shin-quah, Yellow Leaves, (so named because born in autumn, when the leaves are changing,) now the wife of Wa-pa-pe-tah which means all over white, as he was born in winter when the ground was white with snow. His English name, as I have said, Peter Bondy.
We are cordially greeted by brother Bondy, whom we had met before and are introduced to his wife a matronly looking woman, who cordially shakes hands, and looks both pleased and interested as I tell her that I came from the county from which her mother was stolen when a child, and that I was acquainted with her relatives. But she speaks not a word of English. We enter one part of the spacious log house. A bed stands on each side of the door and another in another corner, on which, partly reclining, is her daughter, recently injured by the kick of a horse; an educated, sensible young lady of about twenty years, ready to converse and act as interpreter when required. She spoke good English. A daughter of Brouillete also was present, a girl of sixteen or eighteen. Her father and mother are both dead and lie buried in the yard near the house, as also do Frances Slocum and her husband.
We immediately entered into conversation. "What was Frances Slocum's Indian name?"
"What did that name mean?"
"The Young Bear."
I learned from Mrs. George Slocum, who lives near them, that the Indians gave her this name because when they stole her she cried for a long time and they tried to pacify her by giving her nice things, but she would strike them from her in anger, like a young bear, hence they called her Ma-coon-squah.
"What was her husband's Indian name?"
"The whites called him the Deaf Man, because he was totally deaf for many years. His Indian name was She-bak-o-nah."
"What does She-bak-o-nah mean?"
"Ah me no English."
"Well, can't you give some idea of it?"
He went to his bureau and took out a small iron rod about sixteen inches long, with a hole in the one end and pointed at the other. Holding it up he said, "That is the name. That is She-bak-o-nah."
"No, not a spear."
"Well, what is it?"
"Me no English."
"Well, what do you do with it?"
"Me kill deer, kill bear, kill buffalo, put string through this hole, stick it through meat, slip it on the string, hang it up to dry. This is She-bak-o-nah."
That is, a big needle to string venison with, to dry. He shows me two tomahawks, the handles ornamented with silver bands, and inlaid with silver images of rabbits, a pipe constituting the upper part of the tomahawk the handle answering for the stem to smoke through. One of these and his shebakonah he gives me for the cabinet of curiosities in our Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Taking the tomahawk he put it by his side as if in a belt, and said, "Me carry this when wild Indian, savage."
"What did you carry it for?"
"Me shoot deer' come up to him, he not quite dead; me hit him."
"Did you ever carry it in war, in battle?"
He shook his head and answered, "No."
He said, "white man cheat Indian; cheat Indian bad-fifty dollars for tomahawk."
He showed me his wooden mortar and pestle where he pounded corn into meal. Several bushels of ears of seed corn were hung up by the husk, the ears having a half dozen different colors of corn on each.
We went to the grave of Frances Slocum, but two or three rods from the house, where are perhaps a dozen graves. One was marked with a marble stone, that of Rev. Jean Baptiste Brouillette, who died two years ago, universally esteemed as an earnest Christian minister.
Frances Slocum found her home surrounded by white settlements, and felt the need of some friend to protect her rights. She desires either her brothers settle near her. This they could not do, but George Slocum, her brother Isaac's son, settled near them in 1847. He was an earnest Christian and a member of a Baptist church.
He learned their language and interested himself in their tenporal and spiritual welfare to the time of his death, some five or six years ago. I visited his widow and was most hospitably entertained at dinner. Brother Slocum had the satisfaction of seeing three Indian Baptist churches raised up there, and others have emigrated to Kansas and formed an Indian Baptist church there also. Brouillette was the first convert. Wa-pa-pe-tah (Peter Bondy) was also convicted about the same time, and both of them became Baptist preachers.
The Indians are quite poetic in their names, all of which seem to have a meaning. Brouillette's daughter, whom I saw, was born when he was past fifty years of age, and he called her O-se-nah-kis-a-me-quah (The Last Rays of the Setting Sun). Her English name is the unpoetic one of Nancy.
Some years ago the government removed most of the Miamis to the Indian Territory. This they regarded as a great hardship, and would only go as they were compelled to, by an armed force sent for that purpose. When leaving, I was told, they would fall prostrate on the ground, kiss the earth and weep bitterly to leave their dear Mississenawa valley, and each carried away a little bag of the Mississenawa earth with him when he left. About six hundred removed to the West, while only about three or four hundred remained. These are now cultivating farms and have increased to about eight hundred, while those who removed have dwindled to three hundred, a proof that Indians can live and prosper as farmers.
The name of the civil chief of the tribe is Mo-shin-go-ma-sha, who, with those around him, occupies ten or twelve square miles of land, a few miles away from the home of Frances Slocum.
How singular the providence of God in the captivity and life of this lost sister! Yet as a final result many of that benighted people have become Christians, and several connected with her family have become faithful ministers of Christ.
The "New" Frances Slocum Cemetery (AKA Bundy Cemetery) is in Waltz Township, Wabash County across the Mississinewa river and just upstream from the original cemetery. It is across the dam going east, over the county line and near the southern (dead) end of county road 650 W. The cemetery was moved along with several others to make way for the Mississinewa Reservoir in 1964.
The Inscription on Frances Slocum's monument tells the story briefly:
SIDE 1: Frances Slocum. A child of English descent, was born in Warwick, Rhode Island, March 1773, was carried into captivity from her father's house at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, November 2, 1778, by Delaware Indians soon after the Wyoming Massacre. Her brothers gave persistent search but did not find her until September 21, 1837.
SIDE 2: When inclined by a published letter describing an aged white woman in the Miami Indian village, her two brothers and a sister visited this place and identified her. She lived near here about 32 years with the Indian name "Ma-Con-A-Quah." She died on this ridge March 9, 1847, and was given a Christian burial.
SIDE 3: Frances Slocum became a stranger to her mother tongue. She became a stranger to her brethren and an alien to her mother's children, through her captivity. (See Psalms LXIX, 8) This monument was erected by Slocums and others who deemed it a pleasure to contribute, and was unveiled by them with public ceremonies May 17, 1900.
SIDE 4: She-Po-Con-Ah, A Miami Indian chief, husband of Francis Slocum (Ma-Con-A-Quah) died here in 1833 at an advanced age. Their adult children were: Ke-Ke-Nok-Esh-Wah, wife of Rev. Jean Baptiste Brouillett, died March 13, 1847, aged 47 years, leaving no children. O-Zah-Shin-Quah, or Jane, wife of Rev. Peter Bondy, died January 25, 1877, aged 62 years, leaving a husband and nine children."
OLIVE ANN OATMAN FAIRCHILD & Royce Oatman
1837- 1903) Captured in Arizona at age 13 (1851) by Yavapai Indians, who massacred six members of family. Sold to Mojave Indians. She was treated kindly but bore mark of a slave—blue cactus needle tattoo on chin—for rest of life. Ransomed by Army at Fort Yuma, 1856. Lived in California, then New York. There she married J. B. Fairchild in 1865. About 1872 moved to Sherman where husband founded City Bank. Resided in Sherman until death in 1903.
Royce (Lyman,George, George, John, Johannes), son of Lyman and Lucy (Hartland) Oatman, was born at Middletown Springs, Rutland County, Vermont, in 1809 and was killed by Yavapai Indians 18 February 1851 in New Mexico Territory.
He was educated in western New York and removed to LaHarpe, Illinois, where he married Mary Ann Sperry in 1832; she was born 11 February 1813 in East Bloomfield, New York, and died 18 February 1851 in New Mexico Territory. She was the daughter of Joy and Mary (Lamont) Sperry.
Royce conducted a mercantile business. During the hard time of 1842, his business was entirely wiped out. He removed to Pennsylvania for a time, but soon returned to Chicago, Illinois, where he engaged in farming. Having received a serious injury while assisting a neighbor dig a well, Royce decided to go to New Mexico, where it was thought the milder climate would be beneficial.
In 1850 they joined a wagon train led by James C. Brewster, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), whose attacks on, and disagreements with, the church leadership in Salt Lake City, Utah, had caused him to break with the followers of Brigham Young in Utah and lead his fol- lowers--Brewsterites--to California, which he claimed was the "intended place of gathering" for the Mormons.
The Brewsterite emigrants, numbering 52, left Independence, Missouri, 9 August 1850. Dissension caused the group to split near Santa Fe, with Brewster following the northern route. Royce Oatman and several other families chose the southern route via Socorro, Santa Cruz, and Tucson. Near Socorro, Royce assumed command of the party. They reached New Mexico early in 1851 only to find the country and climate wholly unsuited to their purpose. The other wagons gradually abandoned the goal of reaching the mouth of the Colorado. The party had reached Maricopa Wells when they were told that the Indians ahead were very bad and that they would risk their lives if they proceeded further. The other families resolved to stay. The Oatman family, eventually traveling alone, was decimated on the banks of the Gila River about 80-90 miles east of Yuma in what is now Arizona.
Royce and Mary had seven children at this time, ranging in age from 16 to 1 year. On their fourth day out, they were approached by a group of Indians, asking for tobacco, food and trifles. At some point during the encounter, the Oatman family was attacked by the group, and all were killed except Lorenzo, age 15, who was clubbed and left for dead, Olive, age 13, and Mary Ann, age 7. Lorenzo awoke to find his parents and family dead, but no sign of Mary Ann and Olive. He eventually reached a settlement where he was treated. Three days later, Lorenzo, who had rejoined the emigrant train, found the bodies of his slain family; "we buried the bodies of father, mother and babe in one common grave." (The Tucson Citizen, 26 September 1913) The men had no way of digging proper graves in the volcanic rocky soil, so they gathered the bodies together and heaped a large pile of stones over them. It has been said the remains were reburied several times and finally moved to the river for reinterment by Arizona pioneer Charles Poston.
Today a white cross marks the site where the Oatman family was massacred. At Oatman Flats, Arizona, is the Oatman cairn and a headstone which reads: "In Memory of the Oatman Family and Members of the Pioneers Massacred by Indians in 1851..."
Children of Royce and Mary Ann (Sperry) Oatman:
1547 Lucy, b. 1834, LaHarpe, IL; d. 18 Feb 1851, New Mexico Territory
1548 Lorenzo D., b. 1836, LaHarpe, IL; d. 8 Oct 1901, Red Cloud, NE; m. Edna Amelia Canfield, 3 Aug 1860, Ustick, Whiteside Co., IL
1549 Olive Ann, b. 1837, LaHarpe, IL; d. 20 Mar 1903, Sherman, Grayson Co., TX; m. Major John Brant Fairchild, 1865, Rochester, NY; he d. 1907. Children, surname Fairchild:
A Mary Elizabeth "Mamie", adopted in 1873; m. 1908 to Alister MacKay Laing
The subject of The Captivity of the Oatman Girls and innumerable other articles and stories, along with her sister Mary Ann, Olive spent her early childhood with her family in Hancock County, IL. After 1842 the family spent brief periods in Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley and in Chicago, IL, then settled in Whiteside County, IL, near Fulton, where they lived near Mary Ann Sperry Oatman's sister, Sarah (Sperry) Abbott.
The Indian captivity, 1851-1856, of Olive and her sister Mary Ann, and the efforts of their brother Lorenzo to free them, make up the contents of The Captivity of the Oatman Girls (originally titled Life Among the Indians in the first edition of 1857). The story of the massacre was also the subject of an episode of "Death Valley Days", in which the role of the cavalry officer who was helping Lorenzo in the search for his sisters was portrayed by then actor Ronald Reagan.
After the massacre, Mary Ann and Olive were driven barefoot over very rough terrain and were soon covered with cuts and bruises from both falls and beatings. Mary Ann was not strong enough to travel all night without stopping so a brave threw her over his back like a sack of meal and carried her. But Olive was expected to keep up the pace and when she fell behind, she was beaten until she caught up. During their entire captivity they were treated as drudges and slaves, enduring unending labor, carrying water and foraging for firewood. The girls were held by the Yavapai Indians for about a year, when they were traded to the Mohave Indians and again subjected to a forced march north to the Mohave Valley on the Colorado River above Needles, California. Both girls were tattooed with the tribal mark consisting of five vertical lines from lower lip to chin. While their second captors treated them kindly, famine struck the village and Mary Ann, who had always been frail, died in 1853 from hardship and starvation. Olive spent another three years in captivity before being released through the efforts of Lorenzo. The U. S. Army paid six pounds of white beads, four blankets, various trinkets and a white horse to the Mohaves for her ransom.
After her release in early 1856, she lived briefly in El Monte, CA, with members of the original wagon train. She and Lorenzo then went to live in the Rogue River area of Oregon, near the present city of Medford, with the families of Harvey and Harrison Oatman, sons of Royce's brother Harry.
Returning to California with Lorenzo, Olive spent six months in school in the Santa Clara Valley. While there, they attracted the attention of a Methodist minister in Yreka, California, Royal B. Stratton, who eventually wrote the book and who took them back east. After a stay with the Sperry family near Rochester, New York, Lorenzo went back to Whiteside County, Illinois. Stratton put Olive on the lecture circuit while he, in turn, furthered her interrupted education. After Olive married Major John Fairchild, a former Indian fighter, the couple moved to Detroit, spending several years in Michigan, then on to Sherman, Texas, where Fairchild was a banker. They lived in Sherman for about 30 years, and both died there.
There have been many articles written through the years about the massacre and, particularly, about Olive. Some reported that she went insane, which apparently is untrue upon viewing her later life's activities. Others indicate that the chin tattoos which she received while in captivity were painfully removed; pictures of her in her later years prove this false, as the tattoos are clear in the picture.
Yet another story about Olive revolves around her leaving behind at least two children when she was ransomed. Although there is no indication of her having children while a captive either in Stratton's book or her lecture notes, it should be remembered that this was not a subject in that era that would be spoken of in polite society.
Olive states that "to the honor of these savages, let it be said they never offered the least unchaste abuse to me." (Captivity, 2nd ed., p. 188). After her release, the Los Angeles Star reported two weeks after her arrival at El Monte, "She has not been made a wife . . . and her defenceless situation [was] entirely respected during her residence among the Indians." Another article, entitled "Tragedy at Oatman Flat: Massacre, captivity, mystery" by Richard Dillon (from The American West, March/April 1981) states: "Susan Thompson (Olive's dear friend on the emigrant train) stated flatly that Olive became the wife of the Mohave Chief's son and that she was the mother of two little boys at the time of her ransom. Another story represented at least one of Olive's Indian children as a girl. The Reese River Reveille (Austin, Nevada) of May 23, 1863, described the five Indian children adopted by Washington ('Wash') Jacobs of Austin and Jacobsville, Nevada, when he was the agent for the Butterfield Stage Company at Oatman Flat in 1858: 'One was a beautiful, light-haired, blue-eyed girl, supposed to have been a child of the unfortunate Olive Oatman, so long a captive among the Apaches [sic] . . . On returning home one day, Mr. Jacobs found the children suffering from severe diarrhoea, caused by a thoughtless fellow feeding them only on meat. Four died before relief could be had, and among them the little girl, "the angel of the house." It was a sad event, bitterly wept over and not to be erased from memory.'"
Another article, one more of humor than of historical note, in the Arizona Republican in Phoenix, dated 30 April 1922, refers to the "opening skirmish of one of the most interesting legal battles in the history of Mohave county . . . in Oatman Court of Domestic Relations when John Oatman, wealthy Mohave Indian, was sued for divorce by his wife, Estelle Oatman . . . John Oatman claims to be the grandson of Olive Oatman, famous in Arizona history."
Without further evidence or proof, it is left to the reader to determine which of the stories are valid.
1550 Royce, Jr., b. 1840, LaHarpe, IL; d. 18 Feb 1851, New Mexico Territory
1551 Mary Ann, b. 1843; d. 1853, near what is now Oatman, AZ (see #1545)
1552 Charity Ann, b. 1846, Whiteside Co., IL; d. 18 Feb 1851, New Mexico Territory
1553 Roland, b. 1849, Whiteside Co., IL; d. 18 Feb 1851, New Mexico Territory
Stratton, Royal B., The Captivity of the Oatman Girls, 1857
The Arizona Republican, Phoenix, AZ, 30 April 1922
"Tragedy at Oatman Flat: Massacre, captivity, mystery" by Richard Dillon [The American West, March/April 1981]
"Following the Pot of Gold at the Rainbow's End in the Day of 1850 - The Life of Mrs. Susan Thompson Lewis Parrish of El Monte, California" [Virginia Root]
"Strands of Glory", by Linda Joan Smith (Country Home magazine, June 1994)
For a more complete bibliography regarding the Oatman Massacre, see Olive Oatman's Lecture Notes, edited by Rev. Edward Pettid, S.J., San Bernardino County Museum Association, Vol. XVI, No. 2, Feb. 1969
From: THE WILDERNESS WAR by Allan W Eckert (Bantam Books, May 1982)
paperback. Book IV in his Narratives of America series.
pp.219-224, 530 and 531
Tuesday, 30 Jun 1778, in a prelude to the Wyoming Massacre (PA), Pvt
Daniel CARR was taken prisoner by the Indians. He was still a captive on
15 Jul 1778 when John GARDNER was killed.
Sometime after the 15 Jul 1778 Daniel CARR escaped or was
traded/released by the Indians as he had two children, James
Hadsell/Hadsall CARR b:1790 and Daniel CARR b:1795, w/his wife;
Amy/Rachel HADSALL/HADSELL. Amy's father and brother had been killed by
the Indians the day of Daniel CARR's capture, 30 Jun 1778.
Our undocumented understanding is that the HADSALL/HADSELL's were from
RI and that Amy/Rachel and her mother, Content/Constant (WORDEN)
HADSALL/HADSELL may have returned to RI after the death of James
HADSALL/HADSELL and capture of Daniel CARR. It is our further
understanding that Amy/Rachel (HADSALL/HADSELL) CARR was about to
remarry when Daniel CARR appeared from captivity with the Indians.
In HISTORY OF STEUBEN COUNTY INDIANA, p.363, Springfield Twp, reference
is made to Daniel CARR (b:1895) as a native of Rhode Island which
would seem to support the RI connection above.
Information was furnished by Judy Ardine. Anyone researching their ancestors will find these series very interesting.
THE WILDERNESS WAR by Allan W Eckert (Bantam Books, May 1982)
paperback. Book IV in his Narratives of America series.
- 30 Jun 1778
Various Accounts of the Capture of John Ewing
here are several versions of the captivity of John EWING. Three of the versions are provided below:
1)The first account of the capture of John EWING was in a file cabinet in the genealogy section of the State Library of Ohio. Jack MATTHEWS (a 4th great-grandson of John EWING) typed it based on the oral family story. The library copy appeared to have been copied from colored paper and was very difficult to read. The spelling, grammar, and discrepancies (e.g., 17 warriors vs. 19 warriors) below are exactly as they appear in MATTHEWS' account, except that I capitalized all surnames.
2) John EWING's sister is referred to as Nancy in some versions this account, has been referred to as Jennie (Jeanet) in other accounts.
3) The children of John's sister are: Jane CLENDENIN (who later married John DAVIS) and John CLENDENIN (who died during captivity).
--Mary Hill, Ph.D., 5th great-granddaughter of "Indian John" EWING.
JOHN EWING: CAPTIVE OF THE SHAWNEE
By Jack Matthews
One of the very first white men to come into what is now Ohio was John EWING - my great-great-great-great-grandfather. I have encountered several brief references to him in history books and several more to his sister, (Mrs.) Nancy CLENDENIN, but none coincide exactly to the records preserved by our family and all of the other versions together do not give one-fourth of the detail of their story as it appears in these records.
Since the published accounts I have seen are vague and fragmentary, it seems likely that the family records are closer to the truth.
Here is the story.
On a June day in 1763, John EWING was helping his sister and brother-in-law, Archibald CLENDENIN, on their farm which was located about one mile from present-day Lewisburg, West Virginia. John, sixteen years old at the time, was hoeing corn with two Negro slaves on a mountainside. The three men heard shots from the cabin, which was out of sight, but they weren't particularly alarmed since the shots could easily have been CLENDENIN shooting a wild turkey. Nevertheless, John and one of the slaves decided to investigate.
Before they had gone very far, two Shawnee warriors confronted them, saying, "How de do" in the manner of the frontier and offering to shake hands. Then John saw his sister, Nancy, tied to a shaving horse by the cabin. There were 17 other Shawnee warriors in the party, and John and the slave were immediately captured.
The Indians had arrived while Nancy was cooking dinner. Seemingly friendly, they entered the cabin, one at a time, until all 19 were inside. They killed Nancy's husband, slapped his scalp dry against the log walls and set fire to the cabin.
Nancy, her children and John were taken at a rapid pace toward the Ohio River, where the Shawnees had sunk their canoes. While crossing Sewell Mountain, a packhorse fell, and in the confusion, Nancy escaped.
After a brief search, one of the infuriated Shawnee held up Nancy's baby by the legs, saying, "When the calf bawls, the cow will come."
Nancy didn't hear the baby's cries; however, and the Indian killed it. Nancy tracked her way back to the cabin and arrived exactly one week after her capture to find the corpse of her husband still lying in the July sun.
She buried his body and slept that night in the cornfield. The next day she started walking toward the nearest settlement.
Meanwhile, the Shawnee had raised their canoes at the mouth of the Kanawha and crossed the great river into Ohio. By this time, their pace was almost leisurely. They stopped at the salt licks (near what is now Jackson) for two weeks, and made salt and cured meat. Then they came north to their village of Picawillma, three miles below present-day Circleville.
At Picawillma, John was forced to run the gauntlet, in which he later said, the squaws used their hickory clubs lightly, whereas the young boys beat him fiercely. After this ordeal, he was adopted by the mother of WABAWASENA (White Otter), the brave who had captured him. The woman was apparently a terrible scold, but EWING always spoke of WABAWASENA with great respect for his intellectual and moral qualities.
After John had adjusted to his new life somewhat and learned the Shawnee tongue, a Bible was brought back to the village from a raid in far-off Tennessee. The great council chief of the Shawnee at this time was named THOBQUEH, which means "Hole in the day" (I do not know, but I would guess that this referred to a polar eclipse on or near the date of THOBQUEH 's birth.) The old chief was reckoned to be near a hundred years old at this time. He called the young boy to him and demanded that he translate the Bible to him and explain what it meant.
When John read of the creation, THOBQUEH asked if the first man was an Indian or a white man. John replied that it must have been a white man. THOBQUEH thought it was quite hilarious that anyone could suppose the Great Spirit made "a poor, ignorant, cowardly white man" before he made an Indian.
But in the account of the great flood, THOBQUEH was really dismayed. The only Shawnee word John knew with which to translate Noah's Ark, was "canoe" and when the grissled old chief heard of all the animals it held, he cried out, "Now you know that's a lie! There never was a tree on the Scioto bottoms big enough to make such a canoe as that!"
During John's three-year stay at Picawillma, there was a smallpox epidemic. The Indians, even the bravest warriors, were terrified by the disease. Many of them drowned themselves in the Scioto. John's adopted mother was one of the scores who died of it.
When John was infected, he isolated himself in a cornfield with a buffalo robe (there were scattered buffalo east of the Mississippi in the 18th century) and blanket and lived on roast squashes and cold water until he recovered.
John was freed by a treaty between he British and the Shawnee and he walked through the wilderness to Fort Pitt, which was the nearest white settlement. The rest of his life was relatively uneventful.
As an old man, he delighted in telling stories to his grandchildren. He had a prodigious memory. As a boy, he had gotten access to a few precious books owned by a frontier preacher. He had memorized a great many poems, among them the whole of Milton's Paradise Lost, and he was fond of quoting poetry to his children and grandchildren all his life.
Eventually, John moved to Ohio with his family, settled in Gallia County, where he died in 1824. This time, his life in Ohio was quite uneventful although the country was still wild and very much a frontier community. The small village of Ewington was named, not for John, but for his brother, "Swago Bill" EWING.
Apparently, the three or four years among the Shawnee as a boy had been quite enough excitement for one lifetime and John EWING was content to spend his subsequent days in the relative peace and obscurity of a small frontier farm.
Excerpt from HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF POCAHONTAS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA"
By William T. Price (pub. 1901)
The EWING family of Pocahontas County and vicinity was founded by James EWING, born near Londonderry, Ireland, of Scotch parents, about 1720. He came to Virginia as a young man, and there married Margaret SARGENT, of Irish birth, who bore him five children: Jennie, who married CLENDENNIN, Susan who married Moses MOORE, Elizabeth who married George DOUGHERTY, John, and William. John was born in 1747. At the time of the CLENDENNIN massacre in Greenbrier County, John, a mere lad, was taken prisoner by the Indians, and carried into the Ohio Country. There he was adopted into an Indian tribe, baptized according to Indian custom, and given an Indian name. But John's Scotch-Irish blood was not easily converted to Indian, and when a returning party of warriors brought back as a curiosity an English Bible, he explained to them that it was the word of God. The Indians asked whether his God was an Indian or a white man, and when John answered that he was a white man, they would no longer listen to his reading the book.
John learned the Indian tongue, but he never loved the Indian. In his old age, at the mention of the word "Indian in his presence he would always say, "Curse and confound the Indian." He was released from captivity under a treaty with the Indians, probably in 1764, and delivered to the whites at Fort Pitt, from which point he made his way back to his old Virginia home.
The descendants of John EWING reverently refer to him as "Indian John."
HISTORICAL SKETCHES, No. 6, John EWING
from "Gallipolis Journal," April 21, 1870, Gallipolis, Ohio
CLENDINEN'S little girl who had been EWING's special care during the long and tiresome journey, was adopted by a family in Delaware Town. He often met her during their captivity, a source of great pleasure to both. The little boy, John, a namesake of EWING's and a great favorite withal, for he was a bright, intelligent little fellow, just old enough to win the love and admiration of those around him by his pretty boyish ways, was presented by his captors to two squaws, who had a kind of joint interest in him. On a quarrel rising between them as to who should have possession, the Indian, to settle the dispute, struck him dead with a tomahawk.
Having a retentive memory and an observing eye, EWING soon became master of the Indian language and manners. On one of their predatory excursions among the white settlements of Tennessee, the Indians became the unwitty possessors of two articles, the nature and uses of which they did not quite comprehend - the Bible and the small pox. The Bible was delivered to THOBQUEB, (Hole in the day), the great council chief of the Shawnees. His age, which he reckoned by many hundreds of moons, was nearly a hundred years. He carried the honorable scars of many a border war, and had in his wigwam scalps and trophies innumerable.- He commanded the Indians at the battle of Monongahela, and among his trophies from that field were a number of watches, shoe buckles, buttons and other ornaments taken from the ill-fated officers of that disastrous day. EWING represented him as a man remarkable for his sagacity in council, his constant zeal, his active spirit, and brilliant eloquence, all heightened by the impression of his personal appearance, which age made still more striking. But with all his cunning, the white man's book was to him a perplexing mystery. He summoned EWING to his wigwam and commanded him to explain. He began at the first and translated it into the Indian tongue. All seemed satisfactory to the chief until he came to man's wonderful creation: "And the lord God form man out of the dust of the earth and" - "stop!" thundered the chief. "You say the Great Spirit made man out of the dust of the ground, now, was that man a white man or an Indian? EWING, in his natural simplicity, said he supposed it meant a white man of course. The joke tickled THOBQUEB immensely, and he forgave the boy's presumption- Said he, "I pity your ignorance, but you ought at least to have sense enough to know that the Great Spirit never made the poor, ignorant, cowardly white man before he did the red man. But go on, I will listen to a little more of you nonsense, though I don't believe a word of it." All went well until he came to the description of the Deluge. Here he was obliged to interpret the work ark by the Indian for canoe, and thus arose another stumbling block to the chief's understanding of the Scriptures. After reading the dimensions of the "great cane," and the number of persona and animals put aboard, the old chief exclaimed: "Now you know that's a lie, there never was a tree on the Scioto bottoms big enough to make such a canoe as that!"
When the small pox broke out among them their fear knew no bounds. The most skillful medicine men among them, with roots of wondrous, power, were unable to stay the sweeping pestilence. It carried them off by hundreds. The warrior whose heart was never wont to quake with fear now threw himself into the river, preferring a speedy death, rather than fall at the hands of the ghastly foe. EWING's adopted mother and sister were among the victims. When he felt the disease fastening itself upon him, he repaired to a field of growing corn and squashes which he had on the river bank a short distance below the village. Here beside a spring of sparkling water, he cut down a large dead shell bark hickory and set it on fire. With buffalo robe and blanket for a bed and roast squashes and cold water for a diet, with neither nursing nor medicine, he passed through the ordeal in safety, with scarcely a mark to mar his features. He said he never found a better remedy for small pox.
He remained with the Indians about three years, as near as he could recollect, but during that time he lost all account of the days of the week and month. He was employed principally in farming and hunting, but he had a great deal of leisure time. At last, by a provision of one of the many treaties of peace he was released, and started on his return to home and friends. The first white settlement he reached was Pittsburg. Here he was furnished with shirt, pant and shoes. When he reached home he found there his mother and sister. He asked for some dinner, which they prepared before he made himself known.- His sister first recognized him.- Their mutual joy at so unexpected a meeting after so long a separation may be better imagined than described. He married in Greenbrier county, Va, and after raising a family of five children, he removed to this county in 1801, and settled on George's creek, where he lived until his wife died, when he went to Huntington township to live with his son, Andrew EWING, and his daughter Sarah, wife of the late General Sam'l R. HOLCOMB. Here amid the quiet enjoyment of a circle of loving friends and relatives he spent the remainder of his life.- Although quiet and unassuming, he possessed all the qualifications of a citizen of sterling worth. It is one thing to play an active part on the great forensic stage, it is another and often a nobler thing to act an honorable part in the humbler walks of life. In the latter John EWING was truly a bright star. He died on December 23d, 1824, and was buried on the estate of Gen. Anselm T. HOLCOMB, near Vinton. It is but just to state here that for all the information upon which the foregoing sketches are founded, I am indebted to Gen. A. T. HOLCOMB, grandson of John EWING.
QUEEN ANNE'S WAR
Much has been written about the captives of Deerfield Massachusetts, so this is a story with a little different twist. This was taken from Chapter V. of History of the Connecticut River Valley by Louis Everts; 1879, and transcribed for us by Laurel O'Donnell.
The accession of Queen Anne to the throne of England, like that of William and Mary, brought war between France and England, the consequences of which were a severe visitation upon the colonies. One of the first places to suffer in Massachusetts was Deerfield. On the old Indian hunting-ground called Pa-comp-tuck was planted the town of Deerfield, the richest of all the valley-towns in heroic historic memories. Many a page of her eventful story speaks of the blood of fair women and brave men, of the burning dwelling and ruined home, and is filled with piteous tales of captive children marching through the frozen wilderness, with touching stories of self-sacrifice and deeds of daring valor. In the winter of 1704, Hertel de Rouville, with four brothers, led a party of French and Indians from Montreal, numbering two hundred and fifty, to the valley of the Connecticut in Massachusetts. The blow fell upon devoted Deerfield, hardly yet recovered from the devastating effects of Philip's war. De Rouville and his band approached the sleeping hamlet in the night, killed sixty of the inhabitants, and carried off hundred prisoners. Among the prisoners was the minister of the place, Mr. John Williams. A full account of this distressing affair will be found in the history of Deerfield, farther on in this work, contributed by George Sheldon. The little Indian village of Caugh-na-waga is situated on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River opposite the village of Lachine, at the head of the Saut St Louis, nine miles above Montreal. In the little mission church in Caughnawaga, it is believed still hangs the bell taken from Deerfield by the French and Indians on the 29th day of February, 1704. This bell has been called the bell of St. Regis. It has been celebrated in song by Mrs. Sigourney, in her poem with that title: But says Dr. Hough: "That the Deerfield bell could not have been taken directly to St. Regis is evident from the fact that fifty-six years elapsed between its capture and the founding of St. Regis. In fact, St. Regis was settled by emigrants from Caughnawaga in 1760, the main part remaining behind and doubtless retaining the bell brought from Deerfield, as the mission of the Saut St. Louis continued with no interruption. While on a visit to Caughnawaga, in October, 1852, Dr. Hough found a small bell that once had an inscription, but was then effaced. He also found a direct tradition in connection with the bell, and in the hands of the priest a manuscript in French, of which he gives the following translation, which is inserted here for what it is worth: "The church stands upon a point of land which juts into the river, and its bell sends its echoes over the waters with a clearness which forms a striking contrast with the iron bells which were formerly so common in Canada, while the tin-covered spire of the church, glittering in the sunlight, with the dense, gloomy forests which surround it, gives a character of romance to this little church and the legend of its celebrated bell. "Father Nicolas, having, with the aid of the Indians, erected a church and a belfry, in one of his sermons explained to his humble auditors that a bell was as necessary to a belfry as a priest to a church, and exhorted them to lay aside a portion of the furs which they collected in hunting, until enough was accumulated to purchase a bell, which could only be procured by sending to France. The Indians exhibited an inconceivable ardor in performing this religious duty, and the packet of furs was promptly made out and forwarded to Havre, where an ecclesiastical personage was delegated to make the purchase. The bell was accordingly ordered, and in due time forwarded on board the 'Grande Monarque,' which was on the point of sailing for Quebec. It so happened that, after her departure, one of the wars which the French and English then so often waged sprung up, and in consequence the 'Grande Monarque' never attained her destined port, but was taken by a New England privateer, brought into the port of Salem, where she was condemned as a lawful prize, and sold for the benefit of her captors. The bell was purchased by the village of Deerfield, upon the Connecticut River, for a church then about being erected by the congregation of the celebrated Rev. John Williams. "When Father Nicolas received news of the misfortune, he assembled his Indians, related to them the miserable condition of the bell retained in purgatory in the hands of heretics, and concluded by saying that it would be a most praise worthy enterprise to go and recover it. "This appeal had in it as it were a kind of inspiration, and fell upon its hearers with all the force of the eloquence of Peter the Hermit in preaching the Crusades. "The Indians deplored together the misfortune of their bell, which had not hitherto received the rite of baptism. They had not the slightest idea of a bell, but it was enough for them that Father Nicolas, who preached and said mass for them in their church, said that it had some indispensable use in the service of the church. "Their eagerness for the chase was in a moment suspended, and they assembled together in groups, and, seated on the banks of the river, conversed on the unhappy captivity of their bell, and each brought forward his plan, which he deemed most likely to succeed in effecting its recovery. Some of their number, who had heard a bell, said it could be heard beyond the murmur of the rapid, and that its voice was more harmonious than that of the sweetest songster of the grove heard in the quiet stillness of evening, when all nature was hushed in repose. "All were melancholy and inspired with a holy enthusiasm; many fasted, and others performed severe penances to obtain the deliverance of the bell, or the palliation of its sufferings. "At length the day of its deliverance approached. The Marquis de Vaudreull, Governor of Canada, resolved to send an expedition against the British colonies of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The command of this expedition was given to Major Hertel de Rouville, and one of the friends of the Jesuit college at Quebec was sent to procure the services of Father Nicolas to accompany the expedition. "The Indians were immediately assembled in the church. The messenger was presented to the congregation, and Father Nicolas, in a solemn discourse, pointed to him as worthy of their veneration, from his being the bearer of glad tidings, who was about departing for his return to Quebec to join the war. At the end of the discourse the whole audience raised with one voice the cry of war, and demanded to be led to the place where their bell was detained by the heretics. "The savages immediately began to paint themselves in the most hideous colors, and were animated with a wild enthusiasm to join the expedition. "It was in the depth of winter when they departed to join the army of M. de Rouville, at Fort Chambly. Father Nicolas marched at their head with a large banner surmounted by a cross, and, as they departed from their village, their wives and little ones, in imitation of women of the crusades, who animated the warriors of Godfrey of Bouillon, they sang a sacred hymn which their venerated priest had selected for the occasion. They arrived at Chambly, after a march of great hardship, at the moment the French soldiers were preparing to start on their march up Lake Champlain. "The Indians followed in their rear with that perseverance peculiar to their character. In this order the Indians remained, following in silence until they reached Lake Champlain, where all the army had been ordered to rendezvous. This lake was then frozen and less covered by snow than the shores, and was taken as a more convenient route for the army. With their thoughts wrapped up in the single contemplation of the unhappy captivity of their bell, the Indians remained taciturn during this pensive march, exhibiting no symptoms of fatigue or of fear; no regret for their families or homes; and they regarded with equal indifference on the one hand the interminable line of forest, sometimes black from dense evergreens and in others white with loads of snow, and on the other the black lines of rocks and deserts of snow and ice, which bordered their path. The French soldiers, who suffered dreadfully from fatigue and cold, regarded with admiration the agility and cheerfulness with which the Indians seemed to glide over the yielding surface of the snow on their snow-shoes. The great endurance of the proselytes of Father Nicolas formed a striking contrast with the excitability and impatience of the French soldiers. "When they arrived at the point where now stands the city of Burlington, the order was given for a general halt to make more efficient arrangements for penetrating through the forests to Massachusetts. In leaving this point, De Rouville gave to Father Nicolas the command of his Indian warriors and took the lead of his own himself, with compass in hand, to make the most direct course for Deerfield. Nothing which the troops had thus far suffered could compare with what they now endured on this march through a wild country, in the midst of deep snow, and with no supplies beyond what they could carry. "The French soldiers became impatient, and wasted their breath in curses and complaints at the hardships they suffered; but the Indians, animated by a zeal which sustained them above the sense of hardships, remained steadfast in the midst of fatigue which increased with the severity of their sufferings. "Their custom of traveling in the forest had qualified them for these hardships, which elicited the curses and execrations of their not less brave but more irritable companions. Some time before the expedition arrived at its destination the priest, Nicolas, fell sick from over-exertion. His feet were worn by the labor of traveling, and his face torn by the branches which he neglected to watch in his eagerness to follow the troops. "He felt that he was engaged in a holy expedition, and recalling to mind the martyrdom of the saints and the persecutions which they endured, he looked forward to the glory reserved for his reward for the sufferings which he might encounter in recovering the bell. "On the evening of February 20th, 1704, the expedition arrived within two miles of Deerfield without being discovered. "Do Rouville here ordered his men to rest and refresh themselves a short time, and he here issued his orders for attacking the town. "The surface of the snow was frozen and cracked under their feet, but De Rouville, with a remarkable sagacity, adopted a stratagem to deceive the inhabitants and the garrison. "He gave orders that in advancing to the assault the troops should make frequent pauses and then rush forward with rapidity, thus imitating the noise, made in the forest by the irregular blowing of the wind among branches laden with ice. "The alarm was at length given, and a severe combat ensued, which resulted in the capture of the town and the slaughter or dispersion of the inhabitants and the garrison. "This occurred in the night, and at daybreak the Indians, who had been exhausted by the labors of the night, presented themselves before Father Nicolas in a body and begged to be led to the bell, that they might by their homage prove their veneration for it. Their priest was greatly affected by this earnest request, and De Rouville and others of the French laughed immoderately at it; but the priest wished not to discourage them in their wishes, and he obtained of the French chief permission to send one of his soldiers to ring it in the hearing of the Indians. The sound of the bell in the stillness of the cold morning, and in the midst of the calmness of the forest, echoed clear and far, and fell upon the ears of the simple Indians like the voice of an oracle. They trembled, and were filled with fear and wonder. "The bell was taken from the belfry, and attached to a pole in such a manner that four men could carry it, and in this way it was borne off with their plunder in triumph, the Indians glorying in the deliverance of this miraculous wonder. "But they shortly perceived it was too heavy a burden for the rugged route they pursued and the yielding nature of the snows over which they traveled. Accordingly, upon arriving at the point on the lake where they had left it, they buried their cherished treasure, with many benedictions of Father Nicholas, until the period should arrive when they could transport it with more convenience. "As soon as the ice had disappeared, and the bland air of spring had returned, giving foliage to the trees and the fragrance and beauty of flowers to the forest, Father Nicolas again assembled at the church his Indian converts to select a certain number of the tribe, who, with the assistance of a yoke of oxen, should go and bring in the dearly-prized bell. "During the interval all the women and children of the Indian village, having been informed of the wonderful qualities of the bell, awaited its arrival with eagerness and impatience, and regarded its advent as one of those events which but rarely mark the progress of ages. As the time approached when the curious object should arrive, they were assembled on the bank of the river, and discoursing upon the subject, when far off in the stillness of the twilight there was heard from the depths of the forest a sound which, from being feeble and scarcely audible, became every moment louder. Every one listened when presently the cry arose 'It is the bell! 'It is the bell!' and in a moment after the oxen were seen emerging from the wood surrounded by a group of Indians, and hearing the precious burden on a pole between them. They had hung upon the beam and around the bell clusters of wild-flowers and leaves, and the oxen were adorned with garlands of flowers. Thus marching in triumph, Father Nicolas entered his village more proud of his success and received with more heartfelt joy than a Roman general returning in triumph from the conquest of nations. "From this triumphal march in the midst of the quiet of the evening, which was broken only by the murmur of the rapid softened by the distance, arose the shouts of rejoicing as the cortege entered the village and the idol bell was deposited in the church. Every one gratified his eager curiosity by examining the strange musical metal, and the crusade had been crowned with unqualified success.
"LEGEND OF THE BELL OF SAUT ST. LOUIS (CAUGHNAWAGA), NEAR MONTREAL.
"Father Nicolas, having assembled a considerable number of Indians, who had been converted to the Catholic faith, had established them in the village which now bears the name of the Saut St. Louis, upon the River St. Lawrence. The situation of the village is one of the most magnificent which the banks of that noble river presents, and is among the most picturesque which the country contains.
The accession of Queen Anne to the throne of England, like that of William and Mary, brought war between France and England, the consequences of which were a severe visitation upon the colonies. One of the first places to suffer in Massachusetts was Deerfield.
On the old Indian hunting-ground called Pa-comp-tuck was planted the town of Deerfield, the richest of all the valley-towns in heroic historic memories. Many a page of her eventful story speaks of the blood of fair women and brave men, of the burning dwelling and ruined home, and is filled with piteous tales of captive children marching through the frozen wilderness, with touching stories of self-sacrifice and deeds of daring valor.
In the winter of 1704, Hertel de Rouville, with four brothers, led a party of French and Indians from Montreal, numbering two hundred and fifty, to the valley of the Connecticut in Massachusetts. The blow fell upon devoted Deerfield, hardly yet recovered from the devastating effects of Philip's war. De Rouville and his band approached the sleeping hamlet in the night, killed sixty of the inhabitants, and carried off hundred prisoners. Among the prisoners was the minister of the place, Mr. John Williams. A full account of this distressing affair will be found in the history of Deerfield, farther on in this work, contributed by George Sheldon.
The little Indian village of Caugh-na-waga is situated on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River opposite the village of Lachine, at the head of the Saut St Louis, nine miles above Montreal.
In the little mission church in Caughnawaga, it is believed still hangs the bell taken from Deerfield by the French and Indians on the 29th day of February, 1704.
This bell has been called the bell of St. Regis. It has been celebrated in song by Mrs. Sigourney, in her poem with that title:"The red men came in their pride and wrath, Deep vengeance fired their eye; And the blood of the white was in their path, And the flame from his roof rose high. "Then down from the burning church they tore The bell of trumpet sound, And on with their captive train they bore That wonderful thing toward their native shore, The rude Canadian bound."
But says Dr. Hough: "That the Deerfield bell could not have been taken directly to St. Regis is evident from the fact that fifty-six years elapsed between its capture and the founding of St. Regis.
In fact, St. Regis was settled by emigrants from Caughnawaga in 1760, the main part remaining behind and doubtless retaining the bell brought from Deerfield, as the mission of the Saut St. Louis continued with no interruption.
While on a visit to Caughnawaga, in October, 1852, Dr. Hough found a small bell that once had an inscription, but was then effaced. He also found a direct tradition in connection with the bell, and in the hands of the priest a manuscript in French, of which he gives the following translation, which is inserted here for what it is worth:
"The church stands upon a point of land which juts into the river, and its bell sends its echoes over the waters with a clearness which forms a striking contrast with the iron bells which were formerly so common in Canada, while the tin-covered spire of the church, glittering in the sunlight, with the dense, gloomy forests which surround it, gives a character of romance to this little church and the legend of its celebrated bell.
"Father Nicolas, having, with the aid of the Indians, erected a church and a belfry, in one of his sermons explained to his humble auditors that a bell was as necessary to a belfry as a priest to a church, and exhorted them to lay aside a portion of the furs which they collected in hunting, until enough was accumulated to purchase a bell, which could only be procured by sending to France. The Indians exhibited an inconceivable ardor in performing this religious duty, and the packet of furs was promptly made out and forwarded to Havre, where an ecclesiastical personage was delegated to make the purchase. The bell was accordingly ordered, and in due time forwarded on board the 'Grande Monarque,' which was on the point of sailing for Quebec. It so happened that, after her departure, one of the wars which the French and English then so often waged sprung up, and in consequence the 'Grande Monarque' never attained her destined port, but was taken by a New England privateer, brought into the port of Salem, where she was condemned as a lawful prize, and sold for the benefit of her captors.
The bell was purchased by the village of Deerfield, upon the Connecticut River, for a church then about being erected by the congregation of the celebrated Rev. John Williams.
"When Father Nicolas received news of the misfortune, he assembled his Indians, related to them the miserable condition of the bell retained in purgatory in the hands of heretics, and concluded by saying that it would be a most praise worthy enterprise to go and recover it.
"This appeal had in it as it were a kind of inspiration, and fell upon its hearers with all the force of the eloquence of Peter the Hermit in preaching the Crusades.
"The Indians deplored together the misfortune of their bell, which had not hitherto received the rite of baptism. They had not the slightest idea of a bell, but it was enough for them that Father Nicolas, who preached and said mass for them in their church, said that it had some indispensable use in the service of the church.
"Their eagerness for the chase was in a moment suspended, and they assembled together in groups, and, seated on the banks of the river, conversed on the unhappy captivity of their bell, and each brought forward his plan, which he deemed most likely to succeed in effecting its recovery. Some of their number, who had heard a bell, said it could be heard beyond the murmur of the rapid, and that its voice was more harmonious than that of the sweetest songster of the grove heard in the quiet stillness of evening, when all nature was hushed in repose.
"All were melancholy and inspired with a holy enthusiasm; many fasted, and others performed severe penances to obtain the deliverance of the bell, or the palliation of its sufferings.
"At length the day of its deliverance approached. The Marquis de Vaudreull, Governor of Canada, resolved to send an expedition against the British colonies of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The command of this expedition was given to Major Hertel de Rouville, and one of the friends of the Jesuit college at Quebec was sent to procure the services of Father Nicolas to accompany the expedition.
"The Indians were immediately assembled in the church. The messenger was presented to the congregation, and Father Nicolas, in a solemn discourse, pointed to him as worthy of their veneration, from his being the bearer of glad tidings, who was about departing for his return to Quebec to join the war. At the end of the discourse the whole audience raised with one voice the cry of war, and demanded to be led to the place where their bell was detained by the heretics.
"The savages immediately began to paint themselves in the most hideous colors, and were animated with a wild enthusiasm to join the expedition.
"It was in the depth of winter when they departed to join the army of M. de Rouville, at Fort Chambly. Father Nicolas marched at their head with a large banner surmounted by a cross, and, as they departed from their village, their wives and little ones, in imitation of women of the crusades, who animated the warriors of Godfrey of Bouillon, they sang a sacred hymn which their venerated priest had selected for the occasion. They arrived at Chambly, after a march of great hardship, at the moment the French soldiers were preparing to start on their march up Lake Champlain.
"The Indians followed in their rear with that perseverance peculiar to their character. In this order the Indians remained, following in silence until they reached Lake Champlain, where all the army had been ordered to rendezvous. This lake was then frozen and less covered by snow than the shores, and was taken as a more convenient route for the army. With their thoughts wrapped up in the single contemplation of the unhappy captivity of their bell, the Indians remained taciturn during this pensive march, exhibiting no symptoms of fatigue or of fear; no regret for their families or homes; and they regarded with equal indifference on the one hand the interminable line of forest, sometimes black from dense evergreens and in others white with loads of snow, and on the other the black lines of rocks and deserts of snow and ice, which bordered their path. The French soldiers, who suffered dreadfully from fatigue and cold, regarded with admiration the agility and cheerfulness with which the Indians seemed to glide over the yielding surface of the snow on their snow-shoes. The great endurance of the proselytes of Father Nicolas formed a striking contrast with the excitability and impatience of the French soldiers.
"When they arrived at the point where now stands the city of Burlington, the order was given for a general halt to make more efficient arrangements for penetrating through the forests to Massachusetts. In leaving this point, De Rouville gave to Father Nicolas the command of his Indian warriors and took the lead of his own himself, with compass in hand, to make the most direct course for Deerfield. Nothing which the troops had thus far suffered could compare with what they now endured on this march through a wild country, in the midst of deep snow, and with no supplies beyond what they could carry.
"The French soldiers became impatient, and wasted their breath in curses and complaints at the hardships they suffered; but the Indians, animated by a zeal which sustained them above the sense of hardships, remained steadfast in the midst of fatigue which increased with the severity of their sufferings.
"Their custom of traveling in the forest had qualified them for these hardships, which elicited the curses and execrations of their not less brave but more irritable companions. Some time before the expedition arrived at its destination the priest, Nicolas, fell sick from over-exertion. His feet were worn by the labor of traveling, and his face torn by the branches which he neglected to watch in his eagerness to follow the troops.
"He felt that he was engaged in a holy expedition, and recalling to mind the martyrdom of the saints and the persecutions which they endured, he looked forward to the glory reserved for his reward for the sufferings which he might encounter in recovering the bell.
"On the evening of February 20th, 1704, the expedition arrived within two miles of Deerfield without being discovered.
"Do Rouville here ordered his men to rest and refresh themselves a short time, and he here issued his orders for attacking the town.
"The surface of the snow was frozen and cracked under their feet, but De Rouville, with a remarkable sagacity, adopted a stratagem to deceive the inhabitants and the garrison.
"He gave orders that in advancing to the assault the troops should make frequent pauses and then rush forward with rapidity, thus imitating the noise, made in the forest by the irregular blowing of the wind among branches laden with ice.
"The alarm was at length given, and a severe combat ensued, which resulted in the capture of the town and the slaughter or dispersion of the inhabitants and the garrison.
"This occurred in the night, and at daybreak the Indians, who had been exhausted by the labors of the night, presented themselves before Father Nicolas in a body and begged to be led to the bell, that they might by their homage prove their veneration for it. Their priest was greatly affected by this earnest request, and De Rouville and others of the French laughed immoderately at it; but the priest wished not to discourage them in their wishes, and he obtained of the French chief permission to send one of his soldiers to ring it in the hearing of the Indians.
The sound of the bell in the stillness of the cold morning, and in the midst of the calmness of the forest, echoed clear and far, and fell upon the ears of the simple Indians like the voice of an oracle. They trembled, and were filled with fear and wonder.
"The bell was taken from the belfry, and attached to a pole in such a manner that four men could carry it, and in this way it was borne off with their plunder in triumph, the Indians glorying in the deliverance of this miraculous wonder.
"But they shortly perceived it was too heavy a burden for the rugged route they pursued and the yielding nature of the snows over which they traveled. Accordingly, upon arriving at the point on the lake where they had left it, they buried their cherished treasure, with many benedictions of Father Nicholas, until the period should arrive when they could transport it with more convenience.
"As soon as the ice had disappeared, and the bland air of spring had returned, giving foliage to the trees and the fragrance and beauty of flowers to the forest, Father Nicolas again assembled at the church his Indian converts to select a certain number of the tribe, who, with the assistance of a yoke of oxen, should go and bring in the dearly-prized bell.
"During the interval all the women and children of the Indian village, having been informed of the wonderful qualities of the bell, awaited its arrival with eagerness and impatience, and regarded its advent as one of those events which but rarely mark the progress of ages. As the time approached when the curious object should arrive, they were assembled on the bank of the river, and discoursing upon the subject, when far off in the stillness of the twilight there was heard from the depths of the forest a sound which, from being feeble and scarcely audible, became every moment louder. Every one listened when presently the cry arose 'It is the bell! 'It is the bell!' and in a moment after the oxen were seen emerging from the wood surrounded by a group of Indians, and hearing the precious burden on a pole between them. They had hung upon the beam and around the bell clusters of wild-flowers and leaves, and the oxen were adorned with garlands of flowers. Thus marching in triumph, Father Nicolas entered his village more proud of his success and received with more heartfelt joy than a Roman general returning in triumph from the conquest of nations."In due time it was raised to its place in the belfry, and has ever since, at the accustomed hours, sent its clear tones over the broad bosom of the St. Lawrence to announce the hour of prayer and lapse of time; and although its tones are shrill and feeble beside its modern companion, they possess a music and call up an association which will long give an interest to the church of the Saut St. Louis, at the Indian village of Cough-na-wa-ga."
"From this triumphal march in the midst of the quiet of the evening, which was broken only by the murmur of the rapid softened by the distance, arose the shouts of rejoicing as the cortege entered the village and the idol bell was deposited in the church. Every one gratified his eager curiosity by examining the strange musical metal, and the crusade had been crowned with unqualified success.
More excerpts from this book, as well as other interesting articles involving the Connecticut River Valley can be found at the following websites hosted by Laurel O'Donnell:
John Windell Brown
In 1758, a John Windell Brown appeared before the House of Burgesses of Virginia. He stated that he had "lost his all" in the engagement at Great Meadows. The following is transcribed from the Journals of the House of Burgesses, 1758-1761,edited by H. R. McIlwane: "That he afterwards...settled with his Family on the South Branch, from whence, in April 1756 he with his eldest daughter (now a Prisoner in Canada) were carried away Captives by the Indians to Fort Duquesne, where he suffered very severely from the Cruelties of the Indians. From thence he was sent to Quebec, and some time after with other Prisoners to England from whence he is lately returned."
Missing After Indian attack 4 July 1706 in Amesbury, MA
On 4 July 1706, Indians attacked the town of Amesbury, MA, and several were killed. Barnes Prowse, age 46, husband of Deborah Kimball and father of two girls, was missing after the attack. It was not until 1 August 1715, that his estate was settled. A letter written on the day of the attack by Capt. John Wadleigh reported the incident to Capt. True: "Sir, about one of the clock, the Indians killd Natt Weed's wife and three children; one of them dead and two mortally wounded. At the same time Robert Hoytt's wife killd, a child missing and a boy of Thomas Hoyt's killd. John Ash killd. Barnes Prowse missing; we fear killd all at one time, as neer as we can judg. Sir, pray send a party of men. I think it is a good way to go out this knight. We think to be about 30 Indians."
Martydom of Jean de Breboeuf
This is what the savages old us of the taking of the Village of St. Ignace, and about Fathers Jean de Breboeuf and Gabriel L'Allemant:
"The Iroquois came, to the number of twelve hundred men; took our village, and seized Father Breboeuf and his companion; and set fire to all the huts. They proceeded to vent their rage on those two Fathers, for they took them both and stripped them entirely naked, and fastened each to a post. They tied both of their hands together. They tore the nails from the fingers. They beat them with a shower of blows from cudgels, on the shoulders, the loins, the belly, the legs and the face - there being no part of their body which did not endure this torment." The savages told us further, that, although Father de Breboeuf was overwhelmed under the weight of these blows, he did not cease continually to speak of God, and to encourage all the new Christians who were captives like himself to suffer well, that they might die well, in order to go in company with him to Paradise. While the good Father was thus encouraging these good people, a wretched huron renegade, - who had remained a captive with the Iroquois, and whom Father de Breboeuf had formerly instructed and baptized, - hearing him speak of Paradise and Holy Baptism, was irritated, and said to him, "Echon", that is Father de Breboeuf's name in Huron, "thou sayest that Baptism and the sufferings of this life lead straight to Paradise; thou wilt go soon, for I am going to baptize thee, and to make thee suffer well, in order to go the sooner to thy Paradise." The barbarian, having said that, took a kettle full of boiling water, which he poured over his body three different times, in derision of Holy baptism. And, each time that he baptized him in this manner, the barbarian said to him, with bitter sarcasm, "Go to Heaven, for thou art well baptized." After that, they made him suffer several other torments. The 1st was to make hatchets red-hot, and to apply them to the loins and under the armpits. They made a collar of these red-hot hatchets, and put it on the neck of this good Father. This is the fashion in which I have seen the collar made for other prisoners: They make six hatchets red-hot, take a large withe of green wood, pass the 6 hatchets over the large end of the withe, take the two ends together, and then put it over the neck of the sufferer. I have seen no torment which more moved me to compassion than that. For you see a man, bound naked to a post, who, having this collar on his neck, cannot tell what posture to take. For, if he lean forward, those above his shoulders weigh the more on him; if he lean back, those on his stomach make him suffer the same torment; if he keep erect, without leaning to one side or the other, the burning hatchets, applied equally on both sides, give him a double torture.
After that they put on him a belt of bark, full of pitch and resin, and set fire to it, which roasted his whole body. During all these torments, Father de Breboeuf endured like a rock, insensible to fire and flames, which astonished all the blood-thirsty wretches who tormented him. His zeal was so great that he preached continually to these infidels, to try to convert them. His executioners were enraged against him for constantly speaking to them of God and of their conversions. To prevent him from speaking more, they cut off his tongue, and both his upper and lower lips. After that, they set themselves to strip the flesh from his legs, thighs and arms, to the very bone; and then put it to roast before his eyes in order to eat it.
While they tormented him in this manner, those wretches derided him, saying, "Thou seest plainly that we treat thee as a friend, since we shall be the cause of thy Eternal happiness; thank us, then, for these good offices which we render thee, - for, the more thou shalt suffer, the more will thy God reward thee."
Those butchers, seeing that the good Father began to grow weak, made him sit down on the ground; and one of them, taking a knife, cut off the skin covering his skull. Another one of those barbarians, seeing that the good Father would soon die, made an opening in the upper part of his chest, and tore out his heart, which he roasted and ate. Others came to drink his blood, still warm, which they drank with both hands, - saying that Father de Breboeuf had been very courageous to endure so much pain as they had given him, and that, by drinking his blood, they would become courageous like him.
Because of the bounties placed on scalps, the taking of people of all ages and sexes soon became something of a business on the frontier. In some cases the colonists - or, later on, the Americans - offered bounties on Indian scalps, but the greatest trafficking in scalps came as a result of the wide range of bounties placed on them by the British. Because different age and sex scalps brought different prices, the scalps had to be marked for proper payment to be given. Such bundles of scalps ordinarily were shipped in large lots of eight to twenty bundles, comprised of eighty-eight to one hundred scalps per bundle, or no less that seven hundred scalps per shipment. Scalps taken for British bounties were ordinarily shipped in these bundles to the governor of Canada in Quebec. Each scalp was stretched on a painted willow hoop and further painted on the inside of the skin. The colors and markings were used in a wide combination so that all of the necessary information about any particular scalp could be had at a glance. The basic hoop and scalp markings denoted the following:
Four-inch hoop painted black Soldier Four-inch hoop painted red Man other than soldier Four-inch hoop painted green Old person Four-inch hoop painted blue Woman Two-inch hoop painted green Boy Two-inch hoop painted yellow Girl Two-inch hoop painted white Infant Skin painted red Officer Skin painted brown Farmer killed in house Skin painted green Farmer killed in field Skin painted white Infant Skin painted yellow Girl Skin painted white with red tears Small boy Skin painted half white, half red Older boy Skin painted yellow with red tears Mothers Hair braided Wives Black spot in center of skin Killed by bullet Red hoe in center of skin Farmer Black ax in center of skin Settler Black tomahawk in center of skin Killed by tomahawk Black scalping knife in center of skin Killed by knife Black war club in center of skin Beaten to death Yellow flames in center of skin Tortured to death Black circle all around Killed at night White circle all around with yellow spot Killed by day Small red foot Died fighting
The Hair Buyer of Detroit
During the American Revolution, the very name of Detroit was enough to send a shudder through every American patriot. That was when the settlement's British governor, Henry Hamilton, was known as 'the Hair Buyer of Detroit.' Under his direction, whole armies of Indians, armed with red-handled scalping knives, were dispatched against frontier homes and communities. Among the State papers of Virginia, In Council, June 18, 1779, is the following: 'It appears that Governor Hamilton gave standing rewards for scalps, but offered none for prisoners, which induced the Indians, after making their captives carry their baggage into the neighborhood of the fort, there to put them to death and carry in their scalps to the Governor, who welcomed their return and success by a discharge of cannon.'
Scalping During the French and Indian War
The French and Indian War (1754-1760) is replete with incidents of scalping by French, English and Native American combatants. Newspapers, diaries, journals, and other period sources all document these occurrences.
Scalping, of course, predated the mid-eighteenth century. Historical records, archaeology, and other sciences strongly indicate the practice originated among certain Native American tribes.1 A French soldier, identified by the initials J. C. B., related in his memoirs that "this horrible custom was practiced by these savages alone, and sprang from their own barbarism, for it seems never to have existed in any other nation, not even among nations, who, like them, have never received any idea of civilized life.
This soldier also described how the act was executed. "When a war party has captured one or more prisoners that cannot be taken away, it is the usual custom to kill them by breaking their heads with the blows of a tomahawk . . . When he has struck two or three blows, the savage quickly seizes his knife, and makes an incision around the hair from the upper part of the forehead to the back of the neck. Then he puts his foot on the shoulder of the victim, whom he has turned over face down, and pulls the hair off with both hands, from back to front . . . This hasty operation is no sooner finished than the savage fastens the scalp to his belt and goes on his way. This method is only used when the prisoner cannot follow his captor; or when the Indian is pursued . . . He quickly takes the scalp, gives the deathcry, and flees at top speed. Savages always announce their valor by a deathcry, when they have taken a scalp . . . When a savage has taken a scalp, and is not afraid he is be ing pursued, he stops and scrapes the skin to remove the blood and fibres on it. He makes a hoop of green wood, stretches the skin over it like a tambourine, and puts it in the sun to dry a little. The skin is painted red, and the hair on the outside combed. When prepared, the scalp is fastened to the end of a long stick, and carried on his shoulder in triumph to the village or place where he wants to put it. But as he nears each place on his way, he gives as many cries as he has scalps to announce his arrival and show his bravery. Sometimes as many as 15 scalps are fastened on the same stick. When there are too many for one stick, they decorate several sticks with the scalps.
An English captive, Thomas Gist (son of the famous Christopher Gist), wrote in his journal on September 14, 1758, that his captors "began to scrape the flesh and blood from the scalps, and dry them by the fire, after which they dressed them with feathers and painted them, then tied them on white, red, and black poles, which they made so by pealing the bark and then pain(t)ing them as it suited them. Captain John Knox, of the 43rd Regiment, mentioned in his journal finding "a scalp, which I suppose to have been a child's, with fine hair, en papillate; it was about the size of a large saucer stretched on a hoop, and the flesh-side painted" the following year.
Another Frenchman, Captain Pierre Pouchot, of the Bearn Regiment, and commandant at Fort Niagara most of the war, recounted in his memoirs how the Native American would scalp his foe. "As soon as the man is felled, they run up to him, thrust their knee in between his shoulder blades, seize a tuft of hair in one hand &, with their knife in the other, cut around the skin of the head & pull the whole piece away. The whole thing is done very expeditiously. Then, brandishing the scalp, they utter a whoop which they call the 'death whoop'. . . If they are not under pressure & the victory has cost them lives, they behave in an extremely cruel manner towards those they kill or the dead bodies. They disembowel them & smear their blood all over themselves.
An account of attack near Lake George, in 1759, illustrates Pouchot's observations. On July 2nd, "16 of the Jersey Blues were sent without the camp to gather a little brush for the General's Baker, but were not an hour gone before they were surprized in sight of the camp by a party of the enemy, consisting of about 240, who killed and scalped six, wounded two, took four prisoners, and only four of the whole party escaped. They shewed themselves plainly to the whole Army after they got the scalps, gave a hollow, and then made off to their Battoes, which were not more than two miles from the Head of the Lake. A large party was ordered out after them, but in vain. They butchered our people in a most shocking manner, by cutting pieces of flesh out of their necks, thighs and legs.
While Europeans did not originate scalping, they did encourage its spread through the establishment of bounties. J. C. B. writes that "the French and English were accustomed to pay for the scalps, to the amount of thirty francs' worth of trade goods. Their purpose was then to encourage the savages to take as many scalps as they could, and to know the number of the foe who had fallen.
The French paid virtually nothing for scalps, preferring to purchase prisoners that they would at times send back to their families or utilize for prisoner exchanges. Father Pierre Joseph Antonie Roubaud, missionary to the Abenaki at St. Francis, obtained a scalp from one of his warriors to redeem an infant from a Huron captor. The priest then reunited him with his parents.
The English, however, passed acts through their colonial assemblies. Even before war was declared, on June 12, 1755, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley offered £40 for Indian male scalps and £20 for female scalps. The following year, on April 14, Pennsylvania Governor Robert Hunter Morris "declared war and proclaimed a general bounty for Indian enemy prisoners and for scalps." The bounties to be paid were £130 for a male scalp and £50 for a female scalp.
J. C. B. also mentioned that "to increase the compensation received for scalps, they got the idea of making them of horsehide, which they prepared in the same way as human scalps. The discovery of this fraud was the reason they were more carefully inspected before a payment was made. Consequently, the French and English finished by giving only a trifling amount in the form of presents.
The employment of bounties posed other problems as well. Edmund Atkins, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern Colonies, wrote a very revealing letter to Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe from Winchester on June 30, 1757. In it he explains that "large publick Rewards for Scalps given by Provincial Laws to Indians, are attended with very pernicious Consequences to his Majesty's Service.
Atkins substantiated his remarks by relating "two fresh Instances" that had come to his attention. The first involved a single Chicasaw (an ally to the English) "who was coming up this Way with the Cherokees, was killed by them when asleep; and a single Creek in their Company had like to have shared the same fate. As no Cause of Quarrel is pretended the Motive could only be in their Scalps. Those Cherokees carried the Chicasaw's Scalp with them out to War, towards Fort Du Quesne, & brought it back again; and it is now hanging exposed in publick . . . made into two Scalps, among the Scalps of their Enemies."
The second incident also involved the Cherokees who targeted a Meherrin Indian who they "fixed their Eyes on . . . and determined to kill him for his Scalp." Atkins was "obliged to take Measures to have him guarded safe home. Should he be killed, there would be another National Quarrel with the Tuskeroras. Such occurrences jeopardized the Native American alliances with the British Crown.
Another interesting aspect of this lucrative act was also introduced by Atkins; that of dividing single scalps. He also added "the Cherokees in particular have got the Art of making 4 Scalps out of one man killed. Here are now 20 Scalps hanging out to publick View, which are well known to have been made out of 5 Frenchmen killed. The French likewise were aware of this. Louis Antoine de Bougainville, aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Montcalm, recorded in his journal under the date of July 24, 1757, that "the English had eleven men killed and four wounded, two of whom since died of their wounds. The Indians, however, brought back thirty-two scalps; they know how to make two or even three out of one.
Scalps were also used for decoration. Father Roubaud, remarked about the French allied Native Americans "engaged in counting the number of barbarous trophies - that is to say, the English scalps - with which the canoes were decorated" after the massacre of New Jersey soldiers on Lake George in July, 1757.17 It was at St. Francis, two years later, that Major Robert Rogers "found . . . hanging on poles over their doors, etc. about 600 scalps, mostly English.
Scalps could also be used to replace the dead. Atkins explained that the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Colonies, Sir William Johnson, gave no reward for scalps. "The Warriours fitted out by him to War, deliver to him at their Return all that they bring back; and he afterwards presents them to the Relations of such as lose their Lives in Battle. After being presented with four French scalps by a Stockbridge Mohegan in 1758, Johnson offered all of them to replace Indians who had been killed; one being for his friend, the Mohawk chief, King Hendrick killed at the battle of Lake George, September 8, 1755. Johnson also wrote in 1772 that the Native Americans considered scalping to be "a National Act and Declaration of War.
Some military commanders apparently did not endorse scalping. Atkins said he was "well assured Lord Loudoun detests that practice, and that the French General Moncalm in Canada does the same. During his 1759 campaign against Quebec, General James Wolfe issued orders at Montmorency, July 27, prohibiting "the inhuman practice of scalping, except when the enemy are Indians, or Canad(ian)s. dressed like Indians. In contrast, however, after the capture of an "Indian who murdered John McMichael, a sutler, last January, betwixt Fort Stanwix and Harkiman's" was captured, he "was shot . . . by Order of the General (Amherst), and was afterward scalped.
The final aspect of scalping that is of interest is that of the large number of persons who actually survived the experience. Many think, as Montcalm wrote in a letter, that it was "an operation from which you usually die, as is (only natural and) proper. However, this was not the always the case. Weyman's New York Gazette, for July 30, 1759, carried an article proclaiming that "as a proof that many persons have survived after being scalped, we can assure our readers, that four Highlanders are lately arrived from America, in order for admission into Chelsea Hospital, who had been scalped and left for dead. Sir William Johnson's brother, Warren, declared in his journal on April 12, 1761, that "there are many instances of both men and women recovering after being scalped." He also confirmed scalps were pulled "off from the back of the head.
In closing, I will cite several examples of cases where individuals, both men and women, survived the ordeal. Each case is interesting and gives insight into the horrors faced by these unfortunates, as well as others who did not survive.
The New York Mercury reported that about June 8th, 1759, "two of our battoes were attacked on their way up the Mohawk's River, by a party of the enemy, . . . The same party a day or two after scalped a woman, and carried off a child and a servant that were in company, between Fort Johnson and Schenectady; the woman lived 'til she got into Schenectady, tho' in great agony.
The same paper, the same year, carried the news that on June 22nd, "about 6 o'Clock, a party of French and Indians appeared at Conagohary, consisting of about 3O; They attacked the house of one Peter Mardil, killed a girl, and carried off two men, two women, and two negroes, prisoners: They were immediately pursued by about 5O of the Militia, who came up with and attacked them 12 miles above Fort Hendrick, when the Indians immediately killed their white prisoners, but the negroes escaped: Our people beat off the Indians, and found one woman, and tho' scalped, is likely to recover."29 Here we note also the practice Atkins spoke of where when under pressure, the Native Americans would execute their prisoners.
A fascinating scalping incident occurred as the siege of the English forts at Oswego, NY, were about to commence. In May, 1756, French allied Indians skulked about the forts to inflict what casualties they could. Stephen Cross, a shipbuilder from Massachusetts, records on May 25th that "one of our soldiers came in from the edge of the woods, where it seems he had lain all night having been out on the evening party the day before and got drunk and could not get in, and not being missed, but on seeing him found he had lost his scalp, but he could not tell how nor when, having no others around. We supposed the Indians had stumbled over him in the dark, and supposed him dead, and taken off his scalp. Patrick Mackeller also mentioned the incident in his journal and added "he afterwards recover'd.
One final remarkable account is found in the New Hampshire Gazette. It relates a scalping incident that occurred on August 8th, 1758, near Fort Anne, NY, involving Rogers' Rangers. The harrowing experience of Lieutenant Peter Wooster of Captain David Baldwin's Company of Colonel Nathan Whiting's Second Connecticut Regiment is reported as follows:
"Lieutenant Wooster of the Connecticut Forces, who was wounded in Rogers' skirmish, is yet alive and likely to recover, no pains being spared to effect it, as the surgeons are extremely fond of making a cure of so extraordinary a case, which is this, he being in the front with Major Putnam, or not far in his rear, the enemy fired upon him, 8 bullets lodged in him, 3 of which are taken out; he had also three wounds by a tomahawk, two of which were on his head, and the other in his elbow, his head was flayed, almost the hair part off. He was sensible all the while the enemy were scalping him, and finding him wounded in so many places he could not run, and the enemy close upon him, he fell on his face and feigned himself dead, and no doubt but the enemy thought he actually was; however they gave him two blows on his head, but not so hard as to deprive him of his senses, and then scalped him, during all which time he made not the least resistance.
Siege of Detroit
The Conspiracy of Pontiac
by Francis Parkman
It will not be proper to pass over in silence the fate of the unfortunate men taken prisoners in this affair. After night had set in, several Canadians came to the fort, bringing vague and awful reports of the scenes that had been enacted at the Indian camp. The soldiers gathered round them, and, frozen with horror, listened to the appalling narrative. A cloud of deep gloom sank down upon the garrison, and none could help reflecting how thin and frail a barrier protected them from a similar fate. On the following day, and for several succeeding days, they beheld frightful confirmation of the rumors they had heard. Naked corpses, gashed with knives and scorched with fire, floated down on the pure waters of the Detroit, whose fish came up to nibble at the clotted blood that clung to their ghastly faces.
"The Indians, fearing that the other barges might escape as the first had done, changed their plan of going to the camp. They landed their prisoners, tied them, and conducted them by land to the Ottawas village, and then crossed them to Pondiac's camp, where they were all butchered. As soon as the canoes reached the shore, the barbarians landed their prisoners, one after the other, on the beach. They made them strip themselves, and then sent arrows into different parts of their bodies. These unfortunate men wished sometimes to throw themselves on the ground to avoid the arrows; but they were beaten with sticks and forced to stand up until they fell dead; after which those who had not fired fell upon their bodies, cut them in pieces, cooked, and ate them. On others they exercised different modes of torment by cutting their flesh with flints, and piercing them with lances. They would then cut their feet and hands off, and leave them weltering in their blood till they were dead. Others were fastened to stakes, and children employed in burning them with a slow fire. No kind of torment was left untried by these Indians. Some of the bodies were left on shore; others were thrown into the river. Even the women assisted their husbands in torturing their victims. They slitted them with their knives, and mangled them in various ways. There were, however, a few whose lives were saved, being adopted to serve as slaves." - Pontiac MS.
Always the great object was surprise. Always there was the swift and secret approach, the sudden, brief, incredibly violent eruption of death and devastation, and then the equally swift and secret withdrawal. The sudden demoniac materialization out of the previously silent and seemingly empty forest of a pack of howling savages, painted in grotesquely fearsome designs of red and black and green, appeared at first glance and from that first second an apparition too appalling to permit comprehension.
The composite family of this representative instance might have comprised a husband and wife, his mother, her brother, and six children ranging from an infant in arms to teenage boy and girl. The husband was shot as the Indians sprang from the woods before he could even reach for his rifle. The brother, seated on the ground against a stump while shaping a new hoe handle, crawled frantically into a nearby patch of weeds where in the attackers' extreme excitement he remained undiscovered. The lack of resistance failed to temper the initial ferocity of the Indian assault. The raiders appeared possessed by an insensate frenzy. The scalp was torn from the still living grandmother. The baby was snatched from its mother's arms and swung by its heels to crush its skull against a corner of the corncrib. The expiring head of the family was dismembered and his entrails festooned about the dooryard. His wife's breasts and unborn child were carved from her convulsed body and cast into the flames of the burning cabin. Every item of property too bulky to carry away was destroyed. After a brief consideration of their prospective abilities to keep pace on the return march the three younger children were dispatched, one casually axed, one tossed on the point of a spear, the third shot with arrows after being permitted to start running away. The scalps of all three children were removed with as much interest as had been their elders'. Their value at Detroit would equal that of any white adult's. The older boy and girl, selected to be carried off as captives, were not harmed. Aside from being beaten if they lagged they would be well enough treated on the way back. They, too, had a value. When they reached their captors' town they would be required to run the gauntlet, but thereafter their prospects would be subject to wide variations. Either or both might be burned for the stay-at-homes' edification, might be adopted into the tribe, or might be sold at Detroit at the going price of $100 in cash or trade for each prisoner.
CHIEF BULL, King of the Delawares
He was known as 'Capt. Bull' also 'Honest John' and 'Brother Gideon'. He was son of the great Teedyuscung, King of the Delawares. Teedyuscung was murdered April 6, 1763 as lay drunk by having his house at Wyoming Pa burned around him. Bull inherited his father's place among the Delawares. (A monument to Teedyuscung stands in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia). Bull believed white men murdered his father; to avenge the old chief's death, he led a band of warriors on several great raids in PA & NY, during which he & his warriors murdered & mutilated more than 50 white settlers, men, women & children, mostly children (see Sipe's 'Indian Wars of PA pgs. 459-61), Miner's History of Wyoming & Egle's History of PA and the 'Frontier Forts of PA, Vol 1, pgs. 173-74.
Bull & his band were finally arrested near Kanestio, NY & later were given the choice of being hanged for their crimes or removing themselves & families westward to the Alleghany Mountains. Sipe tells us that Bull & his band of murdering numbered 135 Delawares from the Ohio Valley, & informs that Bull prior to his father's death, had lived in the Ohio Valley for 10 years. arriving here in 1753.
A few weeks after his release from prison in NY, Capt. Bull & about 50 members of his family (relatives) turned up at Frederick Ice's settlement on Cheat River, near present Morgantown, Wva. Here they remained for a few weeks, then went up the Monongahela & into camp at now Fairmont. The following Spring they moved again, this time settling near present Bulltown, WV named for Capt. Bull. Here by the Little Kanawha River they erected 20 cabins & a council house on the site of Chief Bull's old camp. (Note: In 1970-71, this writer received certain information from descendants of Adam FLESHER, 1760-1854, John MAHON 1769-1872- died age 103 at Pittsburg-, David MORGAN, Charles HARRIS & others that Chief Bull kept a hunting camp near present Bulltown, WVa for about 20 years, until 1772, when he & his people, about 100 men, women & children, went south & settled on the lower Mississippi where Bull died.
(Chief Bull's removal with his people from the Little Kanawha River has been established by DRAPER- James Notes, the Simon Kenton materials, Draper's Mss microfilm, WVa University. "The Delawares had a town on the little Kanawha, which Simon Kenton often visited. They went to the White River, 18 miles from the Wabash, & when Gen. Hamiliton was taken, they broke off & went to the Mississippi."- see Kenton materials, Drapers Mss.A RIDICULOUS TALE
A.S. Withers, in his 'Border Warfare" pgs. 136-37, pub in Clarksburg, then VA, in 1831, did not know that Bull & his people moved from Bulltown to near Wabash River in May 1772 as Simon Kenton & others personally acquainted with these Indians have told us. He, Withers, thought that 5 white men might have murdered Bull & the entire Indian population of Bulltown (not less than 100 persons); 'butchered them all, men women & children & threw their corpses into the Little Kanawha River....? He was not certain about this being true, though, for he says (Border Warfare. pgs. 136-37.
There was at that time (1772) an Indian town on the Little Kanawha called Bulltown, inhabited by 5 families, who were in habits of social & friendly intercourse with the whites on Buckhannon & Hacker's Creek; frequently visiting & hunting with them. There was likewise residing on the Gauley river the family of a German by the name of STROUD. In the summer of that year, Mr. STROUD, being from his home, his family were all murdered, his house plundered, & his cattle driven off. The trail made by these leading in the direction of Bulltown, induced the supposition that the Indians of that town had been the authors of the outrage & caused several to resolve or avenging it upon them.
A party of 5 men, 2 of whom were William WHITE & William HACKER, who had been concerned in previous murders (murders of whites), expressed a desire to proceed immediately to Bulltown. The remonstrance of the settlement generally could not operate to effect a change in that determination. They went; & on their return, circumstances justified the belief that the pre-apprehension of those who knew the temper & feelings of WHITE & HACKER had been well founded; & that there had been some fighting between them & the Indians. And notwithstanding that they denied ever having seen an Indian during their absence, yet it was the prevailing opinion, that they had destoyed all the men. women & children at Bulltown, & threw their bodies into the river. Indeed one of the party is said to have inadvertently used expressions confirmatory of this opinion; and to have then justified the deed by saying that the clothes & other things known to have belonged to STROUD's family was requited on them. The village was soon after visited & found to entirely desolated & nothing being ever after heard of its former inhabitants there can remain no doubt but that the murder of STROUD's family was requited on them.
(Note: Withers did not know the names of three of the five men. His only reason for believing the tale was that as he says, ' circumstances justified the belief' and that inadvertent expressions confirmed the opinion. The fact that the accused men, as he says, denied ever having seen an Indian at Bulltown, seems to have meant little to him...It will be understood that Chief Bull moved from Bulltown in May 1772 & that the above tale by Withers was published in 1831, 59 years later.
In a footnote to this tale (Border Warfare.pgs. 136-37) historian R G Thwaites informs that " Bull & 5 families of his relatives settled in what the whites called Bulltown on the Little Kanawha. This was a salt spring about a mile & quarter below the present Bulltown, P.O. Braxton County, WVa. Capt. Bull was inoffensive & very friendly to his white neighbors."
Adam STROUD lived on the Elk River, a few miles south of the Indian Bulltown. The massacre of his family- wife, and 7 children- occured in June 1772, Shawnees were the murderers and not Bull's people.
Thwaites, a highly accredited historiain, ways nothing here about white men murdering Bull & his people. Mr. L V McWhorter, in anaccompanying footnote in reference to the same tale (Border Warfare- pg 137) informing Thwaites says " The names of 2 others of the accused five besides WHITE & HACKER, were Jesse HUGHES & John CUTRIGHT, both settlers on Hackers Creek." McWhorter doesn't name the 5th man but he condemns Jesse HUGHES as a kind of monster with these words (from Thwaites): "Hughes was a man of unbridled passions, so confirmed an Indian hater that no tribesman, however peaceful his record, was safe in his presence. Some of the most cruel acts on the frontier are by tradition attributed to this man. The massacre of the Bulltown Indians was accompianed by atrocities as repulsive as any reported by captives in Indian camps; of these there has been long traditions, but details were not fully known until revealed by CUTRIGHT upon his death bed in 1852, when he had reached the age of 105 years.
While HUGHES was a great scout & Indian trader, he never headed an expedition of this note. This is no doubt was because of his fierce temperment & bad reputation among his own countrymen. McWhorters description of Jesse HIGHES is difficult, if not impossible to believe. First, Jesse was but 21 years old when Bull & his people moved south from Bulltown in May 1772. Second, as McWhorter tells us, Jesse was an Indian trader until 2 years after Bull & his people left Bulltown, which shows that until 1774 he was frieindly toward the Indians & was trusted by them. The Indians did not trade with a known enemy or anyone they did not trust. Certain murders of settlers in 1774 set Jesse & his brother Elias against the Indians & not until then did these 2 begin to earn reputation as Indian fighters. In 1778 Indians murdered Thomas HUGHES, father of Jesse, in a cowardly, sneak attack. In 1787, a party of Indians & the white renegade, Leonard SCHOOLCRAFT took captive Jesse's daughter. The next year, Jesse was able to purchase his daughter's release. After that, his hatred for Indians seems to have grown into something of an obession.
Concerning Hughes' daughter, Withers (Border Warfare pg 380) says only that, " Hughes' daughter was ransomed by her father the next year, and is yet (1830) living in sight of the theatre of those savage enormities." (It is difficult to know exactly from evidence available, which of Jesse Hughes' daughters was taken captive by the Indians. He fathered 7, namely: Rachel, Martha, Sudna, Elizabeth, Lucinda, Nancy and Massie. Tradition names Martha wife of Jacob Bonnett as the girl who was carried off by the savages & ransomed by her father. Certain stories of the capture name other daughters.) McWhorter's statement that Jesse Hughes had a bad reputation among his own countrymen (Border Warfare- pg 137) is flatly refuted by the court records of Harrison County; order book number 1of these records shows that Jesse Hughes was twice nominated & chosen captain of the Harrison County milita; other records of this county reveal that he served in this office 4 times, more often than any other. The record ( order book 1) for May 17, 1786 reads: Jesse Hughes came into court & took the oath of allegiance and the oath of Capt. of Militia according to law.
McWhorters statement that John CUTRIGHT died in 1852 at the age of 105 is incorrect. Bible record & Cutright's application for a RW pension & records established in VA & in Washington D.C. show that John Cutright was born in 1754 & died March 8, 1850, aged 95; he would have been 96 in August. He was a son of John Cutright & was born in Hampshire County. He was 17 years old when Bull & his people are said to have been massacred at Bulltown. His father claimed 400 acres of land in Monongahela (now Upshur County) in 1770 & is said to have settled here the same year. In 1782, John Cutright Sr.'s tax returns show there were 7 persons in his family. Wight of John Cutright Jr's descendants beginning in 1895 have denied that he ever confessed to taking part in the so-called Bulltown massacre of Chief Bull & his people.DESCENDANTS OF CHIEF BULL
Certain Chief Bull's descendants provided statements that their ancestor, Chief Bull, son of King of Delawares, Teedyuscung, died in the 1790's near old Fort Rosalie on the Mississippi where he lies buried. Relatives of James LAMBERT, settled in Jefferson County, Missouri before 1790 know of their descent from Chief Bull, through two of the Chief's daughters who married men by the name of LAMBERT. With the help of these Missouri descendants this writer was able to locate others of the same descent; members of the: NELSON family of Pendleton Co. WVa, members of the CRITES, FREDERICK, YEAGER, SLOAN, LAMBERT, FISHER, KENNEDY and other families of the Monongahela Valley & elsewhere in WVa. These many people alive are proof that Bull & his families were not massacred at Bulltown in present Braxton Co. WV but rather as Draper truthfully states, " went to the White river, 18 miles from the Wabash, & when Gen. Hamilton was taken they broke off & went to the Mississippi."
O.M. Spencer Indian Captive - 1793
Oliver Spencer was captured near Cincinnati in 1792, age 11. He was taken to Shawnee Town and adopted into the tribe. His parents had connections and they managed to have him released to Colonel Richard England at Detroit. Spencer spent a month at Detroit before starting his long journey home. This account was written for publication in the Western Christian Advocate in 1834, forty years after his captivity. Spencer became a Methodist Episcopal minister in Cincinnati.
Colonel England had been instructed by Gov. Simcoe to receive me, to provide clothing, and every thing necessary for my comfort, and to send me on to Fort Niagara, as soon as the navigation of Lake Erie should open. He had beside been informed about my family, and particularly my relatives; and was personally acquainted with some connections of my mother; so that from his sense of duty, as well as from a disposition to oblige his friends, I would have been assured of a favourable reception. But, independently of these considerations, being both a gentleman and a man of great humanity, he received me with much kindness; and regarding my wretched appearance, with sympathy for my condition, followed only the generous impulse of his nature, in ministering to my relief and comfort. After asking me some brief questions, and kindly assuring me of my future welfare, addressing himself to Lieut. Andre, an officer of the same regiment, (who also expecting me, had, on hearing of my arrival, repaired to the colonel's quarters,) said, he committed me to his charge, observing that Mr. Andre would of course take pleasure in making the necessary provision for me. Mr. Andre immediately took me by the hand, and led me to his quarters in the same barracks, only a few doors distant, and requesting me to sit down, retired from the apartment. In a few minutes a servant entered, and set before me some tea, and bread, and butter, on which having supped, I arose, and was retiring from the table, when two women, whom mere curiosity, as I supposed, had kept standing at one end of the room, looking at me intently while I was eating, now advanced, and each, unceremoniously taking me by the hand, and leading me out of the apartment, conducted me to a chamber. Here, stripping off all but my shirt, carefully throwing my clothes out a back window, beyond the palisades of the town, and seating me in a large washtub, half filled with water, they tore off my shirt, which had fast adhered to the bandage round my shoulder, before I had time to tell them I was wounded, and so suddenly, inflicting for a moment acute pain, as to extort from me a loud scream. Their surprise at this soon ceased, when I told them that an Indian had stabbed me in the shoulder; and when they saw the blood from the open wound running down my back, one of them, alarmed, ran to inform Mr. Andre; the other, with a rag immediately staunching the blood, deliberately proceeded to scour my person with soap and water, and by the time the surgeon arrived had effected a complete ablution. On probing the wound, which he found to be about three inches deep, the surgeon pronounced it to be not dangerous; fortunately, he said, the knife, in entering, had struck the lower, posterior point of the right shoulder blade, and taken a direction downward; but had it entered either an inch lower, or nearer the spine, it would probably have caused death. From the want of clothes, it was late next morning before I could get up; but receiving at length a temporary supply of a roundabout and pantaloons, from the wardrobe of Ensign O'Brian, (brother of Mrs. England) and a pair of stockings and slippers, from one of the women, I made my appearance in the breakfast room, and was introduced to Mrs. Andre, wife of the lieutenant. She very kindly took my hand, and congratulated me on my deliverance from the Indians; though she could not help smiling at my singular appearance, dressed, as I was, in clothes, which, although they fitted the smallest officer in the garrison, hung like bags on me. Mrs. Andre made very particular inquiries about my mother, (whose maiden name was Ogden,) and my relatives on her side; and telling me that she had been a Miss Ogden, made our relationship to be that of third cousins. This unexpected information gave me great pleasure; for to find among strangers, and in highly-polished society, one who was not ashamed to acknowledge, as a relative, a destitute boy, far from friends and home, could not but be truly gratifying. But Mrs. Andre possessed none of the false pride of those who, governed wholly by factitious circumstances, while they "have respect to the man in gay clothing," feeling as if degraded by condescension to the unfortunate, "say to the poor, Stand thou there." She was kind and amiable, as she was handsome and accomplished; and although quite young, apparently not more than twenty, supplied to me the place of a mother. Her husband, a brother of the unfortunate Major Andre, and one of the handsomest men I ever saw, very affable in his manners, and frank in his disposition, treated me with great kindness; and after seeing that I was comfortably, and indeed genteelly dressed, introduced me to the families of Mr. Ersk, and Commodore Grant, (where I found boys and girls of nearly my own age, who cheerfully associated with me,) and took pleasure in showing me the town, the shipping, the fort, and whatever else he thought would afford me gratification. Here, too, I frequently saw Moore, who, through the influence of Col. M'Kee, a countryman, and an old friend of his father, had obtained his liberty, and given him employment in the agency. He seemed quite contented, and even happy; amusing himself, in his leisure hours, in shooting at a mark; or in running, wrestling, jumping, or other athletic exercises.
The situation of Detroit, on the western bank of the strait, connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie, and about ten miles south of Lake St. Clair, is familiar to all; though but few here have any knowledge of what it was more than forty years since. It was then a small town containing only wooden buildings, but few of which were well finished; surrounded by high pickets, inclosing an area of probably half a mile square, about one third part of which, along the bank of the river, (as the strait is called,) was covered with houses. There were, I think, three narrow streets, running parallel with the river, and intersected by four or five more at right angles. At the south end of the town, adjoining on the west the second street, at the ends of which were the entrances, (secured by heavy wooden gates,) into the city, was a space about two hundred feet square, inclosed on a part of two sides with low palisades, within which a row of handsome three story barracks, for the accommodation of the officers, occupied the south side, and buildings of the same height for the soldiers' quarters, stood on the west and a part of the north side. The open space was occupied as a parade ground, where the troops were every day exercised by the adjutant. In the northwest corner of the large area, inclosed with pickets, on ground a little elevated, stood the fort, separated from the houses by an esplanade, and surrounded, first by an abatis of tree tops, having the butts of the limbs sharpened and projecting outward about four feet high; then by a deep ditch, in the centre of which were high pickets; and then by a row of light palisades, seven or eight feet long, projecting horizontally from the glacis. The fort, covering not more than half an acre of ground, was square, having a bastion at each angle, with parapets and ramparts, so high as to shelter the quarters within, which were bomb proof, entirely from the shot of an enemy. Its entrance was on the east side, facing the river, over a drawbridge, and through a covered way; over which, on each side, were long iron cannon, carrying twenty-four pound shot, and which the officers called, the "British lions;" while on each side of the other sides were planted two, and on each bastion, four cannon, of various calibre; six, nine, and twelve pounders. The fort was garrisoned by a company of artillery, under the command of Capt. Spear; while two companies of infantry, and one of grenadiers, of the 24th, (Col. England's regiment,) were quartered in the barracks; the balance of the regiment was at Michilimakinak, and other northern posts. By the side of the gate, near the end of the officers' barracks, as a twenty-four pounder; and for the protection of the east side of the town, there were two small batteries of cannon, on the bank of the river. In the spring of 1793, there were anchored in the river, in front of the town, three brigs of about two hundred tons each; the Chippewa and the Ottowa, new vessels, carrying each, I think, eight guns; the Dunmore, an old vessel of six guns, and a sloop, the Felicity, of about one hundred tons, armed only with two swivels; all belonging to his majesty, George III., and commanded by Com. Grant. There were beside, several merchantmen, sloops, and schooners, the property of individuals.
I had spent almost four weeks very agreeably at Detroit, becoming much attached to Col. England, and particularly so to Mr. and Mrs. Andre, who treated me with great kindness, and to the family of Mr. Erskine, who were very friendly and polite to me; and when, near the close of March, the lake being entirely clear of ice; and when, though there was some danger to be apprehended from easterly storms, it was thought that the navigation to Fort Erie would be tolerably safe, orders were issued for the sailing of the Felicity. I felt a momentary regret I was so soon to be separated from these kind friends and acquaintances. Every thing being in readiness, and the sloop beginning to weigh anchor, I took leave of Mr.and Mrs. Andre, thanking them with tears for their parental kindness; and so affected was I, that I could scarcely pronounce the word farewell. Of Col. England, also, who wished me a prosperous voyage, and safe return to my friends, I took a long affecting leave, acknowledging with gratitude my obligations to him; then, with a small bundle containing a few shirts and stockings, accompanying the sailor who was waiting to conduct me, proceeded to the sloop's boat, and in a few minutes more was safe on board the Felicity.
From : INDIAN CAPTIVITY: A TRUE NARRATIVE OF THE CAPTURE OF THE REV. O. M. SPENCERBY THE INDIANS, IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CINCINNATI. WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. NY: Lane & Scott, 1849: 129-135.
The Indian Captivity of O. M. Spencer. Edited by Milo Milton Quaife. NY: Citadel Press, 1968.
Peckham, Howard H. Indian Captives Brought to Detroit. Detroit Historical Society Bulletin 1956 12: 4-9.
Mary Jemison "White Woman of the Genesee"
Dates: 1743 - September 19, 1833
Known for: Indian captive, subject of captivity narrative
Also known as: Dehgewanus, "White Woman of the Genesee"
Mary Jemison was captured by Shawnee Indians and French soldiers in Pennsylvania on April 5, 1758. She was was later sold to Senecas who took her to Ohio.
She was adopted by the Senecas and renamed Dehgewanus. She married, and went with her husband and their young son to Seneca territory in western New York. Her husband died on the journey.
Dehgewanus remarried there, and had six more children. The American Army destroyed the Seneca village during the American Revolutionary War as part of a retaliation for the Cherry Valley massacre, led by Senecas including Dehgewanus' husband who were allied with the British. Dehgewanus and her children fled, joined later by her husband.
They lived in relative peace in the Gardeau Flats, and she was known as the "Old White Woman of the Genesee." By 1797 she was a large landowner. She was naturalized as an American citizen in 1817. In 1823 a writer, James Seaver, interviewed her and the next year published The Life and Times of Mrs. Mary Jemison. When the Senecas sold the land to which they'd moved, they reserved land for her use.
She sold the land in 1831 and moved to a reservation near Buffalo, where she died on September 19, 1833. In 1847 her descendents had her reburied near her Genesee River home, and a marker stands there in Letchworth Park.
Indian Captive, The Story of Mary Jemison is about a 12 year old girl captured by the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois of western New York. They came and raided her house. Mary, called Molly, her family, and Betsey Wheelock, and her children, were captured by the Indians. They had to walk for days, with hardly anything to eat. Soon they came to a resting place. The Indian chief, Shagbark, took off Molly's shoes and replaced them with moccasins. Then Davy Wheelock was brought to the chief. He had already been given moccasins to wear. In a low and sad voice, Molly's mother told her that she and Davy would be taken on a long trip. Molly's mother told her to never forget her name or her father's name and certainly not to forget her own name. She also told Molly to pray at all times and to remember to speak in English.
They were taken to Fort Duquesnes, a French and Indian fort. Shagbark painted their faces and then sent them to a nearby lodge to live. Davy was then taken away by a white man and Molly never saw him again. Two Indian sisters named Shining Star and Squirrel Woman came to trade and Molly was taken to their village. Molly was considered part of their tribe. She was given the name Corn Tassel because of her golden hair. She was then given a bath, her clothes were thrown into the river and she was given deerskin to wear.
Molly 's first friend is a young boy named Little Turtle. He is to become a great warrior when he grows up. Molly worked in the fields and had to carry Shining Star's son for her. Little Turtle goes to the chief and talks to him on behalf of Molly. He tries to explain how lonely and unhappy she is because she has lost her true family. Molly is treated a little more fairly because of Little Turtle. She continues to live and work and learn the customs of the tribe.
After more than a year, white men came to the village and want to trade for Molly. She is given the choice of staying with the tribe or going with the white traders. Molly decides to stay with the Indians because they have made her a part of their family. She also knows that her white family has been killed. The white traders are surprised by her choice. They told her that she would be given the opportunity to go to school and relearn the way of the whites, but she doesn't change her mind. She decides that she will live and die with the Senecas.
A special ceremony is held and Chief Burning Sky tells Molly that her name , Corn Tassel, had been given to her by her Seneca sisters, but now she had earned a new name "Little -Woman -of- Great- Courage." From that day on, Little -Woman- of - Great -Courage lived as a Seneca Indian.
I thought this was a very good book. It was not sad all the time, but it did have sad moments. I think it was good because it gave many details about how the Seneca Indians live on a day to day basis. The book described the way clothing was made, how they farmed, and the utensils used for the tasks done by the men and women of the tribe.By: Lois Lenski
In 1837, Warren and his father DeWitt were in a cow lot in Lavaca County (above Victoria). Comanche raiders killed the father and captured Warren, who was 11. In 1847, a surveyor visiting a Comanche camp saw a white man. He asked if his name was Lyons and Warren said yes. The visitor asked about a young Mexican boy, who seemed to be Warren's slave. "Yes," Warren said, "I caught him on the Rio Grande." Warren eventually returned home, married, and joined the Rangers, though he retained the mannerisms and appearance of a Comanche warrior.
In 1870, when raiding by hostile tribes had just about ceased, Thomas Stringfield and his wife Sarah, their 8-year-old girl and two boys, one six and the other four, were on a road in McMullen County when Indians attacked them.
The family ran to a mott of trees for cover and the father stood them off until he was shot. The girl, Ida, saw the Indians kill her father and stab her mother to death. When one picked up Ida, she bit his hand and he threw her off the horse. They lanced her seven times and carried off her younger brothers.
Ida never fully recovered from her wounds. And she never ceased trying to find her missing brothers, Adolphus and Tommy. Years later, after she married, Ida learned that a man claimed to be Tommy Stringfield, the youngest brother who was captured the day her family was attacked. He called himself "Tommy Two Braids." She was thrilled when they met, then, over a period of months, she began to get suspicious. The man had brown eyes; but her brother Tommy had blue eyes. The man could remember nothing of his life before he was captured. He was finally identified as an impostor, a man named Ora Woodman who was wanted for various crimes. He pulled the "Tommy Two Braids" hoax to promote a horse show he was staging. Ida Stringfield Hatfield never gave up searching for her long lost brothers. Not a sign of them was ever found, like so many captives who were carried off never to be seen again.
FANNY WIGGINS KELLY
The story of Fanny Kelly’s capture and captivity sounds like a modern day fictional account, however the principal events in her narrative actually occurred.
With the assurance of army at Fort Laramie that they would not experience any trouble from Indians, Fanny, a bride of nine months at the age of 19 and her five year old adopted daughter Mary, along with a handful of other emigrants- set out in July of 1864. Eighty miles west of the Fort the party was surprised by a band of 250 Oglala Sioux. Fanny’s husband escaped the attract as he was off chopping wood. the other three men were killed on the spot and Fanny, little Mary were taken captive along with Sarah Larimer, and her eight year old son.
In her written account of her ordeal Fanny wrote, “Many people earnestly assured me that they would have killed their-selves rather than be taken captive to Lord knows what fate.” Her reply was, “But it is only those who have looked over the dark abyss of death, Who know how the soul shrinks from meeting the unknown future.” Experience had taught her that, While hope offers the faintest token or refuge, we pause upon the fearful brink of eternity, and look back for rescue.” (seems like Fanny had a ear for words).
Fanny Kelly had a unique blend of courage and shrewdness, to substain her. But it seemed she was headed for martyrdom rather than survival. The Sioux raided the wagons smashing all they did not want Sarah Larimer screamed and howled as the Indians smashed her daguerreotype equipment. she had planned to earn money in Idaho by taking pictures of the miners. She made such a fuss that one Indian became angered by her noise and pulled his knife and prepared to shut her up. Fanny rushed over and pleaded for Sarah’s life to be spared.
“Perhaps it was the selfish thought of future loneliness in captivity which induced me to intercede.” She conceded in her narrative. The Indian was so impressed with her act that he removed his headdress and presented it to her. Only later did she learn it was a symbol of his personal favor and granted her his personal protection. He was Ottowa, chief of the band. “Very old, over seventy, partialy blind, and very savage looking.” Fanny would become his property for her stay with the Oglala.
Setting of toward the Sioux camp at night, Mrs. Kelly shredded small pieces of paper as a trail and instructed little Mary to silently slip off the horse and follow the trail back to safety. Fanny said she would try to do the same and join her. this ended in tragedy for little Mary she was caught almost immediately and killed and scalped. Fanny was beaten and threatened with death if she ever made such attempt again.
Fanny headed the threat but was i trouble almost immediately, she lost the peace pipe the old chief had entrusted to her care. This was a travesty of decorum and Ottowa was incised and determined she was to die. She was to be tied to a unbroken horse and set loose and the warriors would then shoot arrows at her until the wrath was appeased. Once again Fanny’s resourcefulness prevailed. pulling her purse from under her skirt, she began passing out $120 worth of paper money with pictures on them. The Indians were intrigued and after examining the bills demanded she show how much each was worth by a show of fingers. The weapons were forgotten and no further mention of killing her again.
Fanny strove to be very careful after that, especially after Sarah Larimer and her son disappeared. though she did not know it they had managed to escape.
“The brink of eternity” presented itself to Fanny Kelly with regularity. She accepted a pair of stockings from the Chief’s brother-in-law. This turned out to be a terrible breach of decorum and set of a fued. The old chief shot one of the brother-in-laws horses. In revenge the brother-in-law took aim at Fanny’s heart with a arrow. At the last instant, a young brave named Jumping Bear, leaped in and snatched the arrow out of the air, (it seems he had a serious crush on Fanny). this ended the fued and Ottowa gave the brother-in-law a new horse.
After many days Fanny was looking forward to reaching the Sioux village hoping for better treatment from members of her own sex. To some extent things were better, but the old chief’s oldest wife was a old shrew, who ruled the tee-pee with a iron hand. When Fanny was invited by a kindly neighbor over for a cooked dinner the old chief decided to attend with her. This infuriated the old shrew and she attracted Fanny with a knife. the old chief tried to intervene and the old gal turned on him and stabbed him several times.
Now interring into the fray was the old wife’s brother who feeling Fanny was at fault. Pulled his pistol and fired all six shots at Fanny but missed every time. Instead he hit the chief, when the melee subsided it was discovered that Ottowa had a broken bone near the shoulder..
The chief had a belief that white women possessed special powers in healing, so Fanny was put in charge of his recovery. Ottowa expressed his exasperation at Fanny by pinching her arms. But Fanny reported it was small punishment compared to the old wife’s fate “I never saw the old wife of the chief afterwards.”
Fanny’s account relates many such tales of domestic brawls. She on the other hand striving to survive by diligently displaying obedience and cheerfulness and hard work, became a roll model held up as a example to the others and was conferred with the name of “Real Woman”.
By the time her whereabouts was discovered by the army she was a coveted prize, and the Sioux were reluctant to surrender her. Independent hunters as well as whole tribes were eager to get their hands on her. It was The Blackfoot Sioux who finally convinced the Oglalas to turn Fanny over to them.
She believed they wanted to use her to gain entrance into Fort Sully, and over power the fort. She felt desperate and using her charms influenced Jumping Bear to secretly carry a message to the outpost expressing her misgivings. Supposedly 1,000 braves accompanied Fanny to the fort. Upon their arrival only Fanny and a few chiefs were admitted and the gate quickly closed. Fanny was ransomed for three horses and a load of food supplies. After five months Fanny Kelly was free.
As always the public was curious about her treatment by the Indians. Paramount of course was the question had she been violated? Just as Olive Oatman, Fanny Kelly denied ever having been molested. “True, the Ogalas had treated me at times with great harshness and cruelty, yet I had never suffered from any of them the slightest personal or unchaste insult.”
Fanny did the lecture circuit, and wrote a book about her expernces (My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians)
Sixteen-year-old Laura Roper, Mrs. Lucinda Eubanks, and children, Isabelle 3, and William 6 months, were captured by Indians at "The Narrows," Little Blue River, on Aug. 7, 1864. Laura and Isabelle were released to the Army at Hackberry Creek, KS, in Sept., 1864. Lucinda and baby, brutally treated by the Indians, were finally released near Fort Laramie, WY in May, 1865. This marker is dedicated to the memory of Laura Roper, the Eubanks, and pioneers of the Little Blue Valley.
Indian Captives Released by Col. Bouquet
At the end of the French and Indian War, as a condition of peace withe the Ohio Indians, Bouquet demanded the release of prisoners held by the Delaware, Shawnee and Muncie Indians. By the articles of agreement concluded in November 1764, the Chieftans of these nations agreed to cease hostilities against all British subjects; to collect and deliver to Bouquet's Forces, all English prisoners, deserters, Frenchmen, Negroes, and any other white people living among them; and finally, to appoint deputies from each Indian tribe authorized to treat for peace for their respective nations.
Bouquet was successful in bringing about the release of about 200 prisoners. Among the list we find the following list and dates of captives taken by the Indians in Augusta County, Virginia (Later Greenbrier), including their possessions.
George YOAKUM; 1 shirt, 1 leggins, 1 shoe pack.
Margaret YOAKUM; 1 leggins, 1 shoe pack, 1 blanket
Michael SEE; 2 shirts, 1 blanket
George SEE; 1 shirt, 1 leggins, 1 shoe pack
Mary SEE; 2 shirts, 1 leggins, 1 shoe packet, 1 blanket, 1 pair shoes
Catherine SEE; 1 shirt, 1 shoe pack
Elizabeth YOAKUM; 12 yrs old, Taken July 1763, from Green Bryar, Augusta County
Sally YOAKUM; age 5, Taken from Green Bryar, a captive for 2 years. Released and delivered, May 10, 1765 by the Shawnee.
VAN BIBBER & DAVIS FAMILIES
This summary file was written by Mike Shaver - Summer 1998 following Crye genealogical gatherings in La Cross, Wisconsin.
Family legend and records from the family Bible of Richard and Edney Davis tell of Willaim Davis being captured by indians when he was a small boy. His parents were allegedly killed and he was taken by the indians to live in a Shawnee village on the Sandusky Plains (Ohio?). It is also recorded that he witnessed his uncle being tied to a tree and burned to death. Researcher Judy Hopkins believes that the incident could have been the "Massacre at Muddy Creek" in 1763 in the vicinity of what is now Monroe County, West Viginia. William was subsequently adopted by an indian woman who had lost a child about his own age. He reportedly lived with the Shawnee until his early twenties when he learned that he had a brother still living and went to find him in the "White Man's Settlement". His brother was not present when he arrived but the settlers, knowing the story of his capture, tricked him into staying by having another man impersonate his brother temporarily. The following day when his real brother arrived, William denounced all white men as liars and decievers and returned to the indians. But at a later date he reportedly returned to his brother's cabin where he stayed. Family lore handed down over the years recounts numerous versions of how William's indian step mother would often leave token gifts for him at the edge of the woods near his cabin - but would never venture up to his dwelling.
In a Court Order Book dated 11 March, 1777 from Greenbrier/Botetourt Co. Virginia: The Commonwealth versus Willaim Davis and John VanBibber. The defendants were arraigned for Disloyalty. VanBibber's case was dismissed, but Davis was held bound to the Court, because he knew how to make gun powder and had signified his intention of going back among the indians with whom he had lived for twenty years. As a result he was not allowed to leave The Commonwealth for one year. Reference to this case is also found in a book called "Kegley's Virginia Frontier".
The Bible record of Edney Thomas Davis states that William married Mary (Molly) Packwood in 1777, but there is no official record to confirm this since all marriage records in that area prior to 1780 were destroyed or obliterated. Molly's parents are unknown but it is believed that she was related to the Packwoods of Patrick County, Viginia. William is listed as a member of the Greenbrier Baptist Church and is recorded as having been recieved as a member "by experience" in 1803.
William was subsequently very active in the affairs of Greenbrier and that part which would eventually become Monroe County, W/VA. He is mentioned often in county records with other early settlers such as George Dixon, the VanBibbers, and the Ellisons. John VanBibber built a powder mill where William apparently learned to make gun powder. The VanBibbers and the Dixons were also involved in the founding of Point Pleasant on the Ohio River, but there is no record of William's participation in this venture. He is identified as the owner of 108 acres near the Greenbrier River in 1781 by the Index of West Virginia Land Grants. On 1 May 1794 it is recorded that William and Mary Davis were involved with Frederick and Clara Stoner in the sale of land totaling 318 acres to James Graham. Clearly many of the records of his land dealings have been lost since he disposed of considerably more acreage in his will.
Records of Greenbrier County list William Davis as a "taxable resident" from 1786 to 1792. He is listed on the personal property tax list of Monroe County from 1799 (when it was formed from part of Greenbrier County) until 1815. Following his name listing on each annual record is the name "Richard Davis" and this is believed to be his brother since they appear to be contemporaries in age and also shared adjoining parcels of land on the Greenbrier River. Mary Davis and her son Jacob are listed on the 1815 Tax List but conspicuously absent is the name of William who is presumed to have died during this period.
In his will dated 28 Feb., 1815 William requested that he "be buried in a neat Christian manner and that all his lawful debts be discharged". He left half of his land to his wife Mary and the other half to his daughter Editha. To his son Jacob he gave his rifle and all his working tools. Witnesses included Harry Perry, James Perry and Isaac Busby.
Children of WILLIAM DAVIS and MARY PACKWOOD are:
2. i. JACOB2 DAVIS, b. Abt. 1780, Greenbrier/Monroe Co., West Virginia; d. Bef. 1850, Madison Co., Indiana.
ii. EDITHA DAVIS, b. Abt. 1785, Greenbrier/Monroe County, West Virgina.
3. iii. RACHEL DAVIS, b. Abt. 1790, Greenbrier County, West Virginia; d. 1812, Monroe Co., Virginia.
JACOB DAVIS: 2ND. GENERATION
JACOB2 DAVIS (WILLIAM1)3,4 was born Abt. 1780 in Greenbrier/Monroe Co., West Virginia, and died Bef. 1850 in Madison Co., Indiana. He married EUNICE O. DIXON5 January 25, 1806 in Monroe County, West Virginia6, daughter of GEORGE DIXON and VERONICA VANBIBBER.
Notes for JACOB DAVIS:
1806 - Coincident with his marriage there, Jacob Davis was received into the Old Greenbrier First Baptist Church.
1810- In the census for that year Jacob is recorded as living with his wife and 3 sons on land adjoining that of his father William and uncle Richard Davis. He remained here just after the death his father in 1815. At this time he sold all his land and departed the area enroute to Indiana.
Obituary of William T. Davis (son of Jacob) stated that Jacob, with his family, floated down the Ohio River on a flatboat to Cinncinnati, Ohio in the spring of 1815. Their boat was loaded with salt and whetstones (a much prized and valuable commodity at the time). That same year they continued down the river to the town of Madison, Indiana where they landed and made their first home about four miles below Paris in a portion of Jefferson County, Indiana which later became Jennings County. In 1816 William recieved land patent to 360 acres (two parcels) located nea the Graham Fork of the Muscatuck River in Jefferson County. After this they lived 5 years on what is known as Hester Island. Then they moved to Azelia in Bartholomew County. (From Banner Plain Dealer, North Vernon, Jennings Co. Indiana].
1820 - Census of that year enumerates Jacob and his family (w/mother Mary) in Delaware County (later became Bartholomew Co.). He also purchased land near Azelia area, T8, R 6, Sect. 35. William Packwood (possibly his maternal grandfather or an uncle) bought land the same day, Aug. 20th 1820, right next door. (NOTE: There were several other brothers of William Packwood who settled in this same area).
1830 - Jacob and family still listed as residents of Bartholomew County now living with 10 children.
1834 - Jacob sold land in Bartholmew Co. and that same year bought land on the Grant/Madison Co. line. He is identified in the histories of both counties as a prominent early settler. He resided in Fairmount Township and the history of that community includes various references to Jacob Davis including an incident in which he helped pursue and kill a record size bear.
1837 - Jacob sold his land in Fairmount to his son Joseph and moved to the Town of Summit where they purchased and lived on a small lot. He is recorded still living here during the 1840 census but apparently died before 1850 when he is absent from that count. In the period following his death (between 1850 and 1860) many members of his family who had previously resided in the counties south of Indianapolis apparently sold out and departed, some to Iowa, some to Wisconsin and others to parts unknown.
Marriage Notes for JACOB DAVIS and EUNICE DIXON:
All information related to the children of Jacob Davis and Eunice Dixon provided form the records of Judy Hopkins of Boise, Idaho on 8/22/98.
All information related to the children of Jacob Davis and Eunice Dixon provided form the records of Judy Hopkins of Boise, Idaho on 8/22/98.
Children of JACOB DAVIS and EUNICE DIXON are:
4. i. WILLIAM T.3 DAVIS, b. 1806, Union, Monroe Co., West Virginia; d. September 13, 1893, Brewersville, Jennings Co., Indiana.
5. ii. JAMES WARD DAVIS, b. May 30, 1808, Greenbrier/Monroe Co., West Virginia; d. December 19, 1882, Plumb Hollow, Freemont, Iowa.
6. iii. RICHARD DAVIS, b. 1809, Greenbrier/Monroe Co., West Virginia; d. March 06, 1894, Clackamas Co., Oregon.
iv. JACOB DAVIS, b. Abt. 1810, Greenbrier/Monroe Co., West Virginia.
v. THOMAS DAVIS, b. Abt. 1811, Greenbrieer/Monroe Co., West Virginia.
vi. JOHN D. DAVIS, b. Abt. 1813, Greenbrier/Monroe Co., West Virginia.
7. vii.EDITH DAVIS, b. 1814, Greenbrier/Monroe County, West Virgina; d. Abt. 1890, Stanton, Dunn Co., Wisconsin.
8. viii. JOSEPH DAVIS, b. May 01, 1818, Indiana; d. October 01, 1855, Jennings County, Indiana.
ix. UNK1 DAVIS.
x. UNK2 DAVIS.
9. xi. PERMILIA DAVIS, b. February 16, 1820, Indana; d. Abt. 1900, Saltfork, Grant County, Oklahoma.
xii. ANDREW J. DAVIS, b. June 08, 1823, Azelia, Bartholomew County, Indiana; d. March 09, 1913, Natoma, Osborne County, Kansas; m. ABIGAIL MAPES, January 24, 1841, Jennings County, Indiana.
Notes for ANDREW J. DAVIS:
There is no substantiated direct documentation establishing the paternity of Andrew Davis. However, descendant Judy Hopkins has concluded that he was the son of Jacob and Eunice Davis on the basis of substantial and convincing circumstantial evidence.
Andrew served honorably in the Union Army as a Private during the Civil War. He enlisted at Fontanelle, Iowa in a Company commanded by Capt. L. H. Calan, in the 4th Cavalry Regiment of the Iowa Volunteers on 21 Dec., 1863. The Regiment was commanded by Colonel Winslow. Andrew was honorably discharged for disability at Davenport Iowa on 22 August, 1865. He sustained an injury to his spinal chord that disabled him from performing and bodily labor for the remainder of his life.