Chronicles of Border Warfare
by Alexander Scott Withers
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[194] Hitherto Boone had enjoyed as much satisfaction, as was consistent with his situation, and more than would have been experienced by the most of men, in captivity to the Indians; but when he found such great preparations making for an attack on the place which contained all that he held most dear, his love of family, his attachment to the village reared under his superintending hand, and to its inhabitants protected by his fostering care, determined him to attempt an immediate escape. Early on the morning of the 16th of June, he went forth as usual to hunt. He had secreted as much food as would serve him for one meal, and with this scanty supply, he resolved on finding his way home. On the 20th, having travelled a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, crossed the Ohio and other rivers, and with no sustenance, save what he had taken with him from Chillicothe, he arrived at Boonesborough. The fort was quickly repaired, and every preparation made to enable it to withstand a siege.

In a few days after, another, of those who had been taken prisoners at the Blue Licks, escaped, and brought intelligence that in consequence of the flight of Boone, the Indians had agreed to postpone their meditated irruption, for three weeks.[11] This intelligence determined Boone to invade the Indian country, and at the head of only ten men he went forth on an expedition against Paint creek town. Near to this place, he met with a party of Indians going to join the main army, then on its march to Boonesborough, whom he attacked and dispersed without sustaining any loss on his part. The enemy had one killed and two severely wounded in this skirmish; and lost their horses and baggage. On their return, they passed the Indian army on the 6th of August, and on the next day entered Boonesborough.[12]

On the 8th of August, the Indian army, consisting of four hundred and fifty men, and commanded by Capt. Du Quesne, eleven other Frenchmen, and their own chiefs, appeared before the Fort and demanded its surrender.[13] In order to gain time, Boone requested two days' consideration, and at the expiration of that period, returned for answer, that the garrison had resolved on defending it, while one individual remained alive within its walls.

Capt. Du Quesne then made known, that he was charged by Gov. Hamilton, to make prisoners of the garrison, but not to treat them harshly; and that if nine of their principal men would come out, and negotiate a treaty, based on a renunciation of allegiance to the United States, and on a renewal of their fealty to the king, the Indian army should be instantly withdrawn. Boone did not confide in the sincerity of the Frenchman, but he determined to gain the advantage of farther preparation for resistance, by delaying the attack. He consented to negotiate on the terms proposed; but suspecting treachery, insisted that the conference should be held near the fort walls. The garrison were on the alert, while the negotiation continued, and did not fail to remark that many of the Indians, not [195] concerned in making the treaty, were stalking about, under very suspicious circumstances. The terms on which the savage army was to retire were at length agreed upon, and the articles signed, when the whites were told that it was an Indian custom, in ratification of compacts, that two of their chiefs should shake hands with one white man. Boone and his associates, consenting to conform to this custom, not without suspicion of a sinister design, were endeavored to be dragged off as prisoners by the savages; but strong and active, they bounded from their grasp, and entered the gate, amid a heavy shower of balls—one only of the nine, was slightly wounded. The Indians then commenced a furious assault on the fort, but were repulsed with some loss on their part; and every renewed attempt to carry it by storm, was in like manner, frustrated by the intrepidity and gallantry of its inmates.[14]

Disappointed in their expectation of succeeding in this way, the savages next attempted to undermine the fort, commencing at the water mark of the Kentucky river, only sixty yards from the walls. This course was no doubt dictated to them by their French commanders, as they are ignorant of the practice of war, farther than depends on the use of the gun, and tomahawk, and the exercise of stratagem and cunning. The vigilance of the besieged however, soon led to a discovery of the attempt—the water below, was colored by the clay thrown out from the excavation, while above it retained its usual transparency; and here again they were foiled by the active exertion of the garrison. A countermine was begun by them, the earth from which being thrown over the wall, manifested the nature of their operations, and led the enemy to raise the siege, and retire from the country.[15]

In the various assaults made on the fort by this savage army, two only, of the garrison, were killed, and four wounded. The loss of the enemy, as usual, could not be properly ascertained: thirty-seven were left dead on the field, and many, were no doubt wounded.[16]

So signally was the savage army repulsed, in their repeated attacks on Boonesborough, that they never afterwards made any great effort to effect its reduction. The heroism and intrepidity of Boone and his assistants rendered it impregnable to their combined exertions to demolish it; while the vigilance and caution of the inhabitants, convinced them, that it would be fruitless and unavailing to devise plans for gaining admission into the fort, by stratagem or wile. Still however, they kept up a war of ravage and murder, against such as were unfortunately found defenceless and unprotected; and levelled combined operations against other and weaker positions.

[196] The success of the expedition under Col. Clarke, though productive of many and great advantages to the [195] frontier inhabitants, did not achieve for them, an unmolested security. Their property was still liable to plunder, and families newly arrived among them, to be murdered or taken prisoners. Combined efforts were required, to put a period to savage aggression; and a meeting of the settlers was held at Harrodsburg, to concert measures to effect that object. Their consultation resulted in a determination, to carry the war into the enemy's country; and as the Shawanees had been most efficient in waging hostilities, it was resolved to commence operations, against their most considerable town. Two hundred volunteers were accordingly raised, and when rendezvoused at Harrodsburg, were placed under the command of Col. Bowman, and proceeded against Chillicothe.[17]

The expedition thus fitted out, arrived, by forced marches, near to Chillicothe in the evening towards the latter end of July, 1779; and on deliberation, it was agreed to defer the attack 'till next morning. Before dawn the army was drawn up and arranged in order of battle. The right wing led on by Col. Bowman, was to assume a position on one side of the town, and the left, under Capt. Logan, was to occupy the ground on the opposite side; and at a given signal, both were to develope to the right and left, so as to encircle and attack it in concert.[18] The party, led on by Logan, repaired to the point assigned, and was waiting in anxious, but vain expectation for the signal of attack to be given, when the attention of the Indians was directed towards him by the barking of their dogs. At this instant a gun was discharged by one of Bowman's men, and the whole village alarmed. The squaws and children were hurried into the woods, along a path not yet occupied by the assailants, and the warriors collected in a strong cabin.[19] Logan, being near enough to perceive every movement of the enemy, ordered his men quietly to occupy the deserted huts, as a momentary shelter from the Indian fires, until Col. Bowman should march forward. It was now light; and the savages began a regular discharge of shot at his men, as they advanced to the deserted cabins. This determined him to move directly to the attack of the cabin, in which the warriors were assembled; and ordering his men to tear off the doors and hold them in front, as a shield, while advancing to the assault, he was already marching on the foe, when he was overtaken by an order from Col. Bowman, to retreat.

Confounded by this command, Capt. Logan was for a time reluctant to obey it; a retreat was however, directed; and each individual, sensible of his great exposure while retiring from the towns, sought to escape from danger, in the manner directed by his own judgment; and fled to the woods at his utmost speed. There they rallied, and resumed more of order, though still too much terrified to stand a contest, when the Indians sallied out to give battle. Intimidated by the apprehension of danger, which they had not seen, [197] but supposed to be great from the retreating order of Col. Bowman, they continued to fly before the savages, led on by their chief, the Black Fish. At length they were brought to a halt, and opened a brisk, though inefficient fire, upon their pursuers. Protected by bushes, the Indians maintained their ground, 'till Capts. Logan and Harrod, with some of the men under their immediate command, mounted on pack horses, charged them with great spirit, and dislodged them from their covert. Exposed in turn to the fire of the whites, and seeing their chief fall, the savages took to flight, and Col. Bowman continued his retreat homeward, free from farther interruption.[20]

In this illy conducted expedition, Col. Bowman had nine of his men killed and one wounded. The Indian loss was no doubt less: only two or three were known to be killed. Had the commanding officer, instead of ordering a retreat when Logan's men were rushing bravely to the conflict, marched with the right wing of the army to their aid, far different would have been the result. The enemy, only thirty strong, could not long have held out, against the bravery and impetuosity of two hundred backwoodsmen, stimulated to exertion by repeated suffering, and nerved by the reflection, that they were requiting it upon its principal authors. Col. Bowman doubtless believed that he was pursuing a proper course. The gallantry and intrepidity, displayed by him on many occasions, forbid the supposition that he was under the influence of any unmilitary feeling, and prompted to that course by a disposition to shrink from ordinary dangers. His motives were certainly pure, and his subsequent exertions to rally his men and bring them to face the foe, were as great as could have been made by any one; but disheartened by the fear of unreal danger, and in the trepidation of a flight, deemed to be absolutely necessary for their safety, they could not be readily brought to bear the brunt of battle. The efforts of a few cool and collected individuals, drove back the pursuers, and thus prevented an harrassed retreat.

Notwithstanding the frequent irruptions of the Indians, and the constant exposure of the settlers to suffering and danger, Kentucky increased rapidly in population. From the influx of emigrants during the fall and winter months, the number of its inhabitants were annually doubled for some years; and new establishments were made in various parts of the country. In April 1779, a block house was erected on the present site of Lexington,[21] and several stations were selected in its vicinity, and in the neighborhood of the present town of Danville. Settlements were also made, in that year, on the waters of Bear Grass, Green and Licking rivers, and parts of the country began to be distinguished by their interior and frontier situation.

——- [1] Called by the English, Fort Sackville.—R. G. T.

[2] From Clark's Journal: "January 29.—M. Vigo, a Spanish subject who had been at Post St. Vincents on his lawful business, arrived and gave us intelligence that Governor Hamilton, with thirty regulars and fifty volunteers and about 400 Indians, had arrived in November and taken that post with Capt. Helms and such other Americans who were there with arms, and disarmed the settlers and inhabitants."—R. G. T.

[3] Forty-six men, under Lieut. John Rogers, went with the artillery and stores, in a large galley or batteau, called the "Willing." The distance to Vincennes by land, was a hundred and fifty miles.—R. G. T.

[4] The originals of the correspondence between Clark and Hamilton are, with much other MS. material relative to the movements of Clark, in possession of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Hamilton's letter, in a neat, scholarly hand, ran:

"Lieutenant Governor Hamilton proposes to Colonel Clark a Truce for three days, during which time he promises, there shall not be any defensive work carried on in the Garrison, on Condition Colo^l. Clark shall observe on his part a like cessation from any offensive Work—

"He further proposes that whatever may pass between them two and any persons (mutually agreed upon to be) present, shall remain secret, till matters be finally concluded—

"As he wishes that whatever the result of their conference may be the honor and credit of each party may be considered, so he wishes to confer with Colo^l. Clark as soon as may be—

"As Colo^l. Clark makes a difficulty of coming into the Garrison, L^t. G. Hamilton will speak with him before the Gate—

Henry Hamilton. "Feb^y. 24^th. 1779—Fort Sackville—"

Clark's gruff reply, in rugged, but not unclerical chirography, was as follows:

"Colonel Clark's Compliments to M^r. Hamilton and begs leave to inform him that Co^l. Clark will not agree to any Other Terms than that of M^r. Hamilton's Surrendering himself and Garrison, Prisoners at Discretion—

"If M^r. Hamilton is Desirous of a Conferance with Co^l. Clark he will meet him at the Church with Capt^n. Helms—

"Feb^y. 24^th., 1779. G. R. CLARK."—R. G. T.

[5] Hamilton, in a letter of July 6, 1781, contained in the Haldimand Papers, in the British Museum, gives what he calls "a brief account" of his ill-starred expedition. See Roosevelt's Winning of the West, passim.—R. G. T.

[6] On the Tuscarawas River, about ten miles north of the present New Philadelphia, O., and a mile south of what is now Bolivar, Tuscarawas County. At the time Withers alludes to, it was garrisoned by 150 men under Col. John Gibson.—R. G. T.

[7] Simon Girty and seventeen Indians, mostly Mingoes. Withers confounds this raid with the more formidable siege in February and March. In the January assault, Girty's band ambushed Capt. John Clark, a sergeant, and fourteen men, returning to Fort Pitt from convoying provisions to Fort Laurens. Two whites were killed, four wounded, and one taken prisoner. In February, came an attacking party of a hundred and twenty Indians (mostly Wyandots and Mingoes), led by Capt. Henry Bird, of the Eighth (or King's) Regiment; with him were Simon Girty and ten soldiers. The enemy arrived February 22, but remained in hiding. The next day Gibson sent out a guard of eighteen men, despite warnings of the enemy's presence, to assist the wagoner in collecting the horses of the fort. All the party were killed and scalped, within sight of the fort, save two, who were made prisoners. The fort was then openly invested until March 20, when the besiegers withdrew, torn with dissensions and short of supplies. See Butterfield's Washington-Irvine Correspondence for further details.—R. G. T.

[8] Not to be confounded with George Rogers Clark, of Kentucky.—R. G. T.

[9] The bodies of these men were found to have been much devoured by the wolves, and bearing the appearance of having been recently torn by them. With a view of taking revenge on these animals for devouring their companions, the fatigue party sent to bury their remains, after digging a grave sufficiently capacious to contain all, and having deposited them in it, they covered the pit with slender sticks, bark and rotten wood, too weak to bear the weight of a wolf, and placed a piece of meat on the top and near the center of this covering, as a bait. In the morning seven wolves were found in the pit, and killed and the grave then filled up.

[10] Boone had left Boonesborough January 8, in charge of thirty men, to make salt at the Lower Blue Licks, on Licking River. They carried with them, on horses, several large boiling pans, given to the settlement by the government of Virginia. So weak was the water there, that 840 gallons were necessary to make a bushel of salt, against ninety at the Kanawha salines, and forty at Onondaga. While the salt-makers were at work, two or three others of the party served as scouts and hunters; generally, Boone was one of these. This day (Saturday, February 7) Boone started out alone with his pack-horse for a supply of game, which usually was plenty in the neighborhood of the salt licks; Thomas Brooks and Flanders Callaway, his fellow scouts, were taking another circuit. Having killed a buffalo, Boone was on his way home in the afternoon, with the choicest of the meat packed upon his horse. Snow was falling fast, and he was ten miles from camp, when discovered by four Indians, outlying members of a large party of Shawnees under Munseka and Black Fish, who had taken the war-path to avenge the murder of Cornstalk (see p. 172, note. 2). Benumbed by cold, and unable easily to untie or cut the frozen thongs which bound on the pack, Boone could not unload and mount the horse, and after a sharp skirmish was captured, and led to the main Indian encampment, a few miles away. Boone induced his fellow salt-makers to surrender peaceably the following day (February 8); the number of prisoners was, including Boone, twenty-seven—two scouts and two salt-packers being absent. After a ten days' "uncomfortable journey, in very severe weather," says Boone, in which they "received as good treatment as prisoners could expect from savages," the party arrived at Little Chillicothe, on Little Miami—so called in contradistinction to Old Chillicothe, on the Scioto. Boone's strong, compact build caused the Indians to call him Big Turtle, and under that name he was adopted as the son of Black Fish, who took a fancy to him; sixteen of his companions were also adopted by other warriors. The ten who were not adopted were, with Boone, taken on a trip to Detroit (starting March 10), guarded by forty Indians under Black Fish. The ten were sold to Lieut. Governor Hamilton and citizens of Detroit, for L20 each, the usual price for American prisoners. Boone remained in Detroit until April 10, during which he was treated with great courtesy by Hamilton, who offered Black Fish L100 for him, but the latter declined and took the great pioneer home with him; but Boone himself was given by Hamilton a horse and trappings, with silver trinkets to give to the Indians. At Little Chillicothe, Boone was kindly treated by Black Fish, and little by little his liberty was extended. June 16, while the family were making salt on the Scioto, preparatory to another expedition against Boonesborough, Boone escaped on the horse given him by Hamilton. After many curious adventures, in the course of which he swam the Ohio, he safely reached Boonesborough, June 20, having traveled, he estimated, a hundred and sixty miles in four days. Boone's wife and family, supposing him dead, had returned to their old home in North Carolina, but Boone himself remained to assist in the defense of Boonesborough against the impending attack, of which he had brought intelligence.—R. G. T.

[11] This was William Hancock, who had, like Boone, been adopted into an Indian family. Not so expert a woodsman as Boone, he had consumed twelve days in the journey from Chillicothe to Boonesborough, and suffered great hardships. He arrived at the fort July 17. In consequence of Boone's escape, he reported, the Indians had postponed their intended attack for three weeks. The next day (July 18), Boone wrote to Arthur Campbell, lieutenant of Washington County, Va. (the Holston settlements, 200 miles away), that he expected the enemy in twelve days, and that the fort was prepared for a siege of three or four weeks; but relief would then be of infinite service.—R. G. T.

[12] At the close of six weeks after Hancock's arrival, Boone had become weary of waiting for the enemy, hence his expedition with nineteen men—not ten, as in the text—against the Shawnee town on Paint Creek, during the last week of August. It was the 5th of September when, undiscovered, he passed the Indian force encamped at Lower Blue Licks, and the next day arrived at Boonesborough.—R. G. T.

[13] About 10 A. M. of Monday, September 7,—Withers places it a month, less a day, too early,—the hostiles crossed the Kentucky a mile and a half above Boonesborough, at a point since known as Black Fish's Ford, and soon made their appearance marching single file, some of them mounted, along the ridge south of the fort. They numbered about 400, and displayed English and French flags. The strength of the force has been variously estimated, from 330 Indians and 8 Frenchmen (Col. John Bowman), to 444 Indians and 12 Frenchmen (Boone's Narrative, by Filson). The English Indian department was represented by Capt. Isidore Chene, who had with him several other French-Canadians; there was also a negro named Pompey, who had long lived with the Indians, and served them as interpreter; the principal chiefs were, Black Fish, Moluntha, Black Hoof, and Black Beard.—R. G. T.

[14] The garrison numbered, old and young, white and black, sixty persons capable of bearing arms; only forty, however, were really effective. Women and children, dressed and armed as men, frequently appeared upon the walls, to give an appearance of greater strength.—R. G. T.

[15] This ruse of the Indians was discovered on Friday, the 11th. The garrison commenced its countermine immediately, and prosecuted the work for several days. The rival parties could hear each other at work underground. When the Indians had proceeded about forty yards, two-thirds of the distance from the river bank, successive rainstorms had so saturated the earth that sections of their tunnel caved in, and this it was that frustrated their scheme.—R. G. T.

[16] When the Indians retired from before Boonesboro, one hundred and twenty-five pounds weight of bullets were picked up by the garrison, besides many that stuck in the logs of the fort. A conclusive proof that the Indians were not idle, during the continuance of the siege.

[17] John Bowman, of Harrodsburgh, was lieutenant of Kentucky County, and colonel of its militia. During the spring of 1779, there was a general desire to raid the unsuspecting Shawnees, in retaliation for their invasions of Kentucky, and Bowman decided to command in person this "first regular enterprise to attack, in force, the Indians beyond the Ohio, ever planned in Kentucky." The company of volunteers of the interior rendezvoused in May at Harrodsburgh, and under Capts. Benjamin Logan and Silas Harlan marched to Lexington, where they met the Boonesborough company under Capt. John Holder, and another party under Capt. Levi Todd. At the mouth of the Licking (site of Covington, Ky.), the general rendezvous agreed on, they found a company from the Falls of the Ohio (site of Louisville), under Capt. William Harrod. Also in the little army, which finally mustered 297 men, including officers, were frontiersmen from Redstone Old Fort, and other settlements in the valleys of the Ohio and Monongahela. The Redstone men were on their way home, when they heard of the expedition, and joined it at the Licking; they had been on a visit to Big Bone Lick, and had a canoe-load of relics therefrom, which they were transporting up river. The force crossed the Ohio, May 28, just below the mouth of the Licking; 32 men remained behind in charge of the boats, leaving 265 to set out for the Shawnee town of Little Chillicothe, on the Little Miami, distant about sixty-five miles northeast. George Clark and William Whitley were pilots, and George M. Bedinger adjutant and quartermaster.—R. G. T.

[18] Without having seen an Indian, the expedition arrived in sight of Little Chillicothe, at dusk of May 29—Withers places the date two months ahead of the actual time. Capt. Logan had charge of the left wing, Harrod of the right, and Holder of the center. The white force now numbered 263—two men having returned to the boats, disabled; the Indians numbered about 100 warriors and 200 squaws and children. Black Fish was the principal village chief, and subordinate to him were Black Hoof and Black Beard.—R. G. T.

[19] This was the council house, which was so stoutly defended that the white assailants were glad to take refuge in a neighboring hut, from which they escaped with difficulty.—R. G. T.

[20] The chief cause of alarm, and the consequent disorder, was a false report started among the whites, that Simon Girty and a hundred Shawnees from the Indian village of Piqua, twelve miles distant, were marching to the relief of Black Fish. Order was soon restored, and when, fourteen miles out upon the homeward trail, Indians were discovered upon their rear, the enemy were met with vigor, and thereafter the retreat was unhampered. The force reached the Ohio, just above the mouth of the Little Miami, early on June 1. The "pack-horses" alluded to by Withers, were 163 Indian ponies captured in the Chillicothe woods; the other plunder was considerable, being chiefly silver ornaments and clothing. After crossing the Ohio in boats—the horses swimming—there was an auction of the booty, which was appraised at L32,000, continental money, each man getting goods or horses to the value of about L110. The Indian loss was five killed at the town, and many wounded; the whites had seven men killed. Little Chillicothe had been for the most part destroyed by fire, and its crops destroyed. The newspapers of the day regarded the expedition as an undoubted success.—R. G. T.

[21] George W. Ranck: "April 1. Robert Patterson, at the head of twenty-five men, commenced a block house where Lexington now stands."—R. G. T.


In North Western Virginia, the frequent inroads of small parties of savages in 1778, led to greater preparations for security, from renewed hostilities after the winter should have passed away; and many settlements received a considerable accession to their strength, from the number of persons emigrating to them. In some neighborhoods, the sufferings of the preceding season and the inability of the inhabitants, from the paucity of their numbers, to protect themselves from invasion, led to a total abandonment of their homes. The settlement on Hacker's creek was entirely broken up in the spring of 1779,—some of its inhabitants forsaking the country and retiring east of the mountains; while the others went to the fort on Buchannon, and to Nutter's fort, near Clarksburg, to aid in resisting the foe and in maintaining possession of the country. When the campaign of that year opened, the whole frontier was better prepared to protect itself from invasion and to shield its occupants from the wrath of the savage enemy, than it had ever been, since it became the abode of white men. There were forts in every settlement, into which the people could retire when danger threatened, and which were capable of withstanding the assaults of savages, however furious they might be, if having to depend for success, on the use of small arms only. It was fortunate for the country, that this was their dependence. A few well directed shots even from small cannon, would have demolished [199] their strongest fortress, and left them no hope from death, but captivity.

In the neighborhood of Pricket's fort, the inhabitants were early alarmed, by circumstances which induced a belief that the Indians were near, and they accordingly entered that garrison. It was soon evident that their fears were groundless, but as the season was fast approaching, when the savages might be expected to commence depredations, they determined on remaining in the fort, of a night, and yet prosecute the business of their farms as usual during the day. Among those who were at this time in the fort, was David Morgan, (a relation of General Daniel Morgan,) then upwards of sixty years of age. Early in April, being himself unwell, he sent his two children—Stephen, a youth of sixteen, and Sarah, a girl of fourteen—to feed the cattle at his farm, about a mile off. The children, thinking to remain all day and spend the time in preparing ground for water melons, unknown to their father took with them some bread and meat. Having fed the stock, Stephen set himself to work, and while he was engaged in grubbing, his sister would remove the brush, and otherwise aid him in the labor of clearing the ground; occasionally going to the house to wet some linen which she had spread out to bleach. Morgan, after the children had been gone some time, betook himself to bed, and soon falling asleep, dreamed that he saw Stephen and Sarah walking about the fort yard, scalped. Aroused from slumber by the harrowing spectacle presented to his sleeping view, he enquired if the children had returned, and upon learning they had not, he set out to see what detained them, taking with him his gun. As he approached the house, still impressed with the horrible fear that he should find his dream realized, he ascended an eminence, from which he could distinctly see over his plantation, and descrying from thence the objects of his anxious solicitude, he proceeded directly to them, and seated himself on an old log, near at hand. He had been here but a few minutes, before he saw two Indians come out from the house and make toward the children. Fearing to alarm them too much, and thus deprive them of the power of exerting themselves ably to make an escape, he apprized them in a careless manner, of their danger, and told them to run towards the fort—himself still maintaining his seat on the log. The Indians then raised a hideous yell and ran in pursuit; but the old [200] gentleman shewing himself at that instant, caused them to forbear the chase, and shelter themselves behind trees. He then endeavored to effect an escape, by flight, and the Indians followed after him. Age and consequent infirmity, rendered him unable long to continue out of their reach; and aware that they were gaining considerably on him, he wheeled to shoot. Both instantly sprang behind trees, and Morgan seeking shelter in the same manner, got behind a sugar, which was so small as to leave part of his body exposed. Looking round, he saw a large oak about twenty yards farther, and he made to it. Just as he reached it, the foremost Indian sought security behind the sugar sapling, which he had found insufficient for his protection. The Indian, sensible that it would not shelter him, threw himself down by the side of a log which lay at the root of the sapling. But this did not afford him sufficient cover, and Morgan, seeing him exposed to a shot, fired at him. The ball took effect, and the savage, rolling over on his back, stabbed himself twice in the breast.

Having thus succeeded in killing one of his pursuers, Morgan again took to flight, and the remaining Indian after him. It was now that trees could afford him no security—His gun was unloaded, and his pursuer could approach him safely.—The unequal race was continued about sixty yards, when looking over his shoulder, he saw the savage within a few paces of him, and with his gun raised. Morgan sprang to one side, and the ball whizzed harmlessly by him. The odds was now not great, and both advanced to closer combat, sensible of the prize for which they had to contend, and each determined, to deal death to his adversary. Morgan aimed a blow with his gun; but the Indian hurled a tomahawk at him, which cutting the little finger of his left hand entirely off, and injuring the one next it very much, knocked the gun out of his grasp, and they closed. Being a good wrestler, Morgan succeeded in throwing the Indian; but soon found himself overturned, and the savage upon him, feeling for his knife and sending forth a most horrifick yell, as is their custom when they consider victory as secure. A woman's apron, which he had taken from the house and fastened round him above his knife, so hindered him in getting at it quickly, that Morgan, getting one of his fingers in his mouth, deprived him of the use of that hand, and disconcerted him very much by continuing to grind it between his teeth. At length the [201] Indian got hold of his knife, but so far towards the blade, that Morgan too got a small hold on the extremity of the handle; and as the Indian drew it from the scabbard, Morgan, biting his finger with all his might, and thus causing him somewhat to relax his grasp, drew it through his hand, gashing it most severely.

By this time both had gained their feet, and the Indian, sensible of the great advantage gained over him, endeavored to disengage himself; but Morgan held fast to the finger, until he succeeded in giving him a fatal stab, and felt the almost lifeless body sinking in his arms. He then loosened his hold and departed for the fort.

On his way he met with his daughter, who not being able to keep pace with her brother, had followed his footsteps to the river bank where he had plunged in, and was then making her way to the canoe. Assured thus far of the safety of his children, he accompanied his daughter to the fort, and then, in company with a party of the men, returned to his farm, to see if there were any appearance of other Indians being about there. On arriving at the spot where the desperate struggle had been, the wounded Indian was not to be seen; but trailing him by the blood which flowed profusely from his side, they found him concealed in the branches of a fallen tree.—He had taken the knife from his body, bound up the wound with the apron, and on their approaching him, accosted them familiarly, with the salutation "How do do broder, how do broder." Alas! poor fellow! their brotherhood extended no farther than to the gratification of a vengeful feeling. He was tomahawked and scalped; and, as if this would not fill the measure of their vindictive passions, both he and his companion were flayed, their skins tanned and converted into saddle seats, shot pouches and belts—A striking instance of the barbarities, which a revengeful spirit will lead its possessors to perpetrate.[1]

The alarm which had caused the people in the neighborhood of Pricket's fort, to move into it for safety, induced two or three families on Dunkard creek to collect at the house of Mr. Bozarth, thinking they would be more exempt from danger when together, than if remaining at their several homes. About the first of April, when only Mr. Bozarth and two men were in the house, the children, who had been out at play, came running into the yard, exclaiming that there were [202] "ugly red men coming." Upon hearing this, one of the two men in the house, going to the door to see if Indians really were approaching, received a glancing shot on his breast, which caused him to fall back. The Indian who had shot him, sprang in immediately after, and grappling with the other white man, was quickly thrown on the bed. His antagonist having no weapon with which to do him any injury called to Mrs. Bozarth for a knife. Not finding one at hand, she siezed an axe, and at one blow, let out the brains of the prostrate savage. At that instant a second Indian entering the door, shot dead the man engaged with his companion on the bed. Mrs. Bozarth turned on him, and with a well directed blow, let out his entrails and caused him to bawl out for help. Upon this, others of his party, who had been engaged with the children in the yard, came to his relief. The first who thrust his head in at the door, had it cleft by the axe of Mrs. Bozarth and fell lifeless on the ground. Another, catching hold of his wounded, bawling companion, drew him out of the house, when Mrs. Bozarth, with the aid of the white man who had been first shot and was then somewhat recovered, succeeded in closing and making fast the door. The children in the yard were all killed, but the heroism and exertions of Mrs. Bozarth and the wounded white man, enabled them to resist the repeated attempts of the Indians, to force open the door, and to maintain possession of the house, until they were relieved by a party from the neighboring settlement.—The time occupied in this bloody affair, from the first alarm by the children to the shutting of the door, did not exceed three minutes. And in this brief space, Mrs. Bozarth, with infinite self possession, coolness and intrepidity, succeeded in killing three Indians.

On the eleventh of the same month, five Indians came to a house on Snowy creek, (in the, now, county of Preston,) in which lived James Brain and Richard Powell, and remained in ambush during the night, close around it. In the morning early, the appearance of some ten or twelve men, issuing from the house with guns, for the purpose of amusing themselves in shooting at a mark, deterred the Indians from making their meditated attack. The men seen by them, were travellers, who had associated for mutual security, and who, after partaking of a morning's repast, resumed their journey, unknown to the savages; when Mr. Brain and the sons of Mr. Powell [203] went to their day's work. Being engaged in carrying clap-boards for covering a cabin, at some distance from the house, they were soon heard by the Indians, who, despairing of succeeding in an attack on the house, changed their position, & concealed themselves by the side of the path, along which those engaged at work had to go. Mr. Brain and one of his sons being at a little distance in front of them, they fired and Brain fell. He was then tomahawked and scalped, while another of the party followed and caught the son as he was attempting to escape by flight.

Three other boys were then some distance behind and out of sight, and hearing the report of the gun which killed Brain, for an instant supposed that it proceeded from the rifle of some hunter in quest of deer. They were soon satisfied that this supposition was unfounded. Three Indians came running towards them, bearing their guns in one hand, and tomahawks in the other. One of the boys stupefied by terror,—and unable to stir from the spot, was immediately made prisoner. Another, the son of Powell, was also soon caught; but the third, finding himself out of sight of his pursuer, ran to one side and concealed himself in a bunch of alders, where he remained until the Indian passed the spot where he lay, when he arose, and taking a different direction, ran with all his speed, and effected an escape. The little prisoners were then brought together; and one of Mr. Powell's sons, being discovered to have but one eye, was stripped naked, had a tomahawk sunk into his head, a spear ran through his body, and the scalp then removed from his bleeding head.

The little Powell who had escaped from the savages, being forced to go a direction opposite to the house, proceeded to a station about eight miles off, & communicated intelligence of what had been done at Brain's. A party of men equipped themselves and went immediately to the scene of action; but the Indians had hastened homeward, as soon as they perpetrated their horrid cruelties. One of their little captives, (Benjamin Brain) being asked by them, "how many men were at the house," replied "twelve." To the question, "how far from thence was the nearest fort," he answered "two miles." Yet he well knew that there was no fort, nearer than eight miles, and that there was not a man at the house,—Mr. Powell being from home, and the twelve travellers having departed, before his father and he had gone out to [204] work. His object was to save his mother and the other women and children, from captivity or death, by inducing them to believe that it would be extremely dangerous to venture near the house. He succeeded in the attainment of his object. Deterred by the prospect of being discovered, and perhaps defeated by the superior force of the white men, represented to be at Mr. Brain's, they departed in the greatest hurry, taking with them their two little prisoners, Benjamin and Isaac Brain.

So stilly had the whole affair been conducted (the report of a gun being too commonly heard to excite any suspicion of what was doing,) and so expeditiously had the little boy who escaped, and the men who accompanied him back, moved in their course, that the first intimation given Mrs. Brain of the fate of her husband, was given by the men who came in pursuit.

Soon after the happening of this affair, a party of Indians came into the Buchannon settlement, and made prisoner Leonard Schoolcraft, a youth of about sixteen, who had been sent from the fort on some business.—When arrived at their towns and arrangements being made for his running the gauntlet, he was told that he might defend himself against the blows of the young Indians who were to pursue him to the council house. Being active and athletic, he availed himself of this privilege, so as to save himself from the beating which he would otherwise have received, and laying about him with well timed blows, frequently knocked down those who came near to him—much to the amusement of the warriors, according to the account given by others, who were then prisoners and present. This was the last certain information which was ever had concerning him. He was believed however, to have been afterwards in his old neighborhood in the capacity of guide to the Indians, and aiding them, by his knowledge of the country, in making successful incursions into it.

In the month of June, at Martin's fort on Crooked Run, another murderous scene was exhibited by the savages. The greater part of the men having gone forth early to their farms, and those who remained, being unapprehensive of immediate danger, and consequently supine and careless, the fort was necessarily, easily accessible, and the vigilance of the savages who were lying hid around it, discovering its exposed and [205] weakened situation, seized the favorable moment to attack those who were without. The women were engaged in milking the cows outside the gate, and the men who had been left behind were loitering around. The Indians rushed forward, and killed and made prisoners of ten of them. James Stuart, James Smally and Peter Crouse, were the only persons who fell, and John Shiver and his wife, two sons of Stuart, two sons of Smally and a son of Crouse, were carried into captivity. According to their statement upon their return, there were thirteen Indians in the party which surprised them, and emboldened by success, instead of retreating with their prisoners, remained at a little distance from the fort 'till night, when they put the captives in a waste house near, under custody of two of the savages, while the remaining eleven, went to see if they could not succeed in forcing an entrance at the gate. But the disaster of the morning had taught the inhabitants the necessity of greater watchfulness. The dogs were shut out at night, and the approach of the Indians exciting them to bark freely, gave notice of impending danger, in time for them to avert it. The attempt to take the fort being thus frustrated, the savages returned to the house in which the prisoners were confined, and moved off with them to their towns.

In August, two daughters of Captain David Scott living at the mouth of Pike run, going to the meadow with dinner for the mowers, were taken by some Indians who were watching the path. The younger was killed on the spot; but the latter being taken some distance farther, and every search for her proving unavailing, her father fondly hoped that she had been carried into captivity, and that be might redeem her. For this purpose he visited Pittsburg and engaged the service of a friendly Indian to ascertain where she was and endeavour to prevail on them to ransom her. Before his return from Fort Pitt, some of his neighbors directed to the spot by the buzzards hovering over it, found her half eaten and mutilated body.

In September, Nathaniel Davisson and his brother, being on a hunting expedition up Ten Mile, left their camp early on the morning of the day on which they intended to return home; and naming an hour at which they would be back, proceeded through the woods in different directions. At the appointed time, Josiah went to the camp, and after waiting there in vain for the arrival of his brother, and becoming uneasy lest [206] some unlucky accident had befallen him, he set out in search of him. Unable to see or hear anything of him he returned home, and prevailed on several of his neighbors to aid in endeavouring to ascertain his fate. Their search was likewise unavailing; but in the following March, he was found by John Read, while hunting in that neighborhood. He had been shot and scalped; and notwithstanding he had lain out nearly six months, yet he was but little torn by wild beasts, and was easily recognized.

During this year too, Tygarts Valley, which had escaped being visited by the Indians in 1778 again heard their harrowing yells; and although but little mischief was done by them while there, yet its inhabitants were awhile, kept in fearful apprehension that greater ills would betide them. In October of this year, a party of them lying in ambush near the road, fired several shots at Lieut. John White, riding by, but with no other effect than by wounding the horse to cause him to throw his rider. This was fatal to White. Being left on foot and on open ground, he was soon shot, tomahawked and scalped.

As soon as this event was made known, Capt. Benjamin Wilson, with his wonted promptitude and energy, raised a company of volunteers, and proceeding by forced marches to the Indian crossing at the mouth of the Sandy fork of Little Kenhawa, he remained there nearly three days with a view to intercept the retreat of the savages. They however, returned by another way and his scheme, of cutting them off while crossing the river, consequently failed.

Some time after this several families in the Buchannon settlement, left the fort and returned to their homes, under the belief that the season had advanced too far, for the Indians again to come among them. But they were sorely disappointed. The men being all assembled at the fort for the purpose of electing a Captain, some Indians fell upon the family of John Schoolcraft, and killed the women and eight children,—two little boys only were taken prisoners. A small girl, who had been scalped and tomahawked 'till a portion of her brains was forced from her head, was found the next day yet alive, and continued to live for several days, the brains still oozing from the fracture of her skull.

The last mischief that was done this fall, was perpetrated at the house of Samuel Cottrail near to the present town of Clarksburg.—During the night considerable fear was excited, both at Cottrial's and at Sotha Hickman's on the opposite side of Elk creek, by the continued barking of the dogs, that Indians were lurking near, and in consequence of this apprehension Cottrial, on going to bed, secured well the doors and directed that no one should stir out in the morning until it was ascertained that there was no danger threatening. A while before day, Cottrial being fast asleep, Moses Coleman, who lived with him, got up, shelled some corn, and giving a few ears to Cottrial's nephew with directions to feed the pigs around [207] the yard, went to the hand mill in an out house, and commenced grinding. The little boy, being squatted down shelling the corn to the pigs, found himself suddenly drawn on his back and an Indian standing over him, ordering him to lie there. The savage then turned toward the house in which Coleman was, fired, and as Coleman fell ran up to scalp him. Thinking this a favorable time for him to reach the dwelling house, the little boy sprang to his feet, and running to the door, it was opened and he admitted. Scarcely was it closed after him, when one of the Indians with his tomahawk endeavored to break it open. Cottrail fired through the door at him, and he went off. In order to see if others were about, and to have a better opportunity of shooting with effect, Cottrail ascended the loft, and looking through a crevice saw them hastening away through the field and at too great distance for him to shoot with the expectation of injuring them. Yet he continued to fire and halloo; to give notice of danger to those who lived near him.

The severity of the following winter put a momentary stop to savage inroad, and gave to the inhabitants on the frontier an interval of quiet and repose extremely desirable to them, after the dangers and confinement of the preceding season. Hostilities were however, resumed upon the first appearance of spring, and acts of murder and devastation, which had, of necessity, been suspended for a time, were begun to be committed, with a firm determination on the part of the savages, utterly to exterminate the inhabitants of the western country. To effect this object, an expedition was concerted between the British commandant at Detroit and the Indian Chiefs north west of the Ohio to be carried on by their united forces against Kentucky, while an Indian army alone, was to penetrate North Western Virginia, and spread desolation over its surface. No means which could avail to ensure success and which lay within their reach, were left unemployed. The army destined to operate against Kentucky, was to consist of six hundred Indians and Canadians, to be commanded by Col. Byrd (a British officer) and furnished with every implement of destruction, from the war club of the savages, to the cannon of their allies.[2] Happily for North Western Virginia, its situation exempted its inhabitants from having to contend against these instruments of war; the want of roads prevented the transportation of cannon through the intermediate forests, and the difficulty and labor of propelling them up the Ohio river, forbade the attempt in that way.

While the troops were collecting for these expeditions, and other preparations were making for carrying them on, the settlements of North Western Virginia were not free from invasion. Small parties of Indians would enter them at unguarded moments, and kill and plunder, whenever opportunities occurred of their being done with impunity, and then retreat to their villages. Early in March (1780) Thomas Lackey discovered some mocason tracks near the upper extremity of Tygarts Valley, and thought he heard a voice saying in [208] an under tone, "let him alone, he will go and bring more." Alarmed by these circumstances, he proceeded to Hadden's fort and told there what he had seen, and what he believed, he had heard. Being so early in the season and the weather yet far from mild, none heeded his tale, and but few believed it. On the next day however, as Jacob Warwick, William Warwick and some others from Greenbrier were about leaving the fort on their return home, it was agreed that a company of men should accompany them some distance on the road. Unapprehensive of danger, in spite of the warning of Lackey, they were proceeding carelessly on their way, when they were suddenly attacked by some Indians lying in ambush, near to the place, where the mocason tracks had been seen on the preceding day. The men on horse back, all got safely off; but those on foot were less fortunate. The Indians having occupied the pass both above and below, the footmen had no chance of escape but in crossing the river and ascending a steep bluff, on its opposite side. In attempting this several lost their lives. John McLain was killed about thirty yards from the brow of the hill.—James Ralston, when a little farther up it, and James Crouch was wounded after having nearly reached its summit, yet he got safely off and returned to the fort on the next day. John Nelson, after crossing over, endeavored to escape down the river; but being there met by a stout warrior, he too was killed, after a severe struggle. His shattered gun breech, the uptorn earth, and the locks of Indian hair in his yet clenched hands, showed that the victory over him had not been easily won.

Soon after this, the family of John Gibson were surprised at their sugar camp, on a branch of the Valley river, and made prisoners. Mrs. Gibson, being incapable of supporting the fatigue of walking so far and fast, was tomahawked and scalped in the presence of her children.

West's fort on Hacker's creek, was also visited by the savages, early in this year.[3] The frequent incursions of the Indians into this settlement, in the year 1778, had caused the inhabitants to desert their homes the next year, and shelter themselves in places of greater security; but being unwilling to give up the improvements which they had already made and commence anew in the woods, some few families returned to it during the winter, & on the approach of spring, moved into the fort. They had not been long here, before the savages made their appearance, and continued to invest the fort for some time. Too weak to sally out and give them battle, and not knowing when to expect relief, the inhabitants were almost reduced to despair, when Jesse Hughs resolved at his own hazard, to try to obtain assistance to drive off the enemy. Leaving the fort at night, he broke by their sentinels and ran with speed to the Buchannon fort. Here he prevailed on a party of the men to accompany him to West's, and relieve those who had been so long confined there. They arrived before day, and it was thought advisable to abandon the place once more, and remove to Buchannon. On their way, the [209] Indians used every artifice to separate the party, so as to gain an advantageous opportunity of attacking them; but in vain. They exercised so much caution, and kept so well together, that every stratagem was frustrated, and they all reached the fort in safety.

Two days after this, as Jeremiah Curl, Henry Fink and Edmund West, who were old men, and Alexander West,[4] Peter Cutright, and Simon Schoolcraft, were returning to the fort with some of their neighbor's property, they were fired at by the Indians who were lying concealed along a run bank. Curl was slightly wounded under the chin, but disdaining to fly without making a stand he called to his companions, "stand your ground, for we are able to whip them." At this instant a lusty warrior drew a tomahawk from his belt and rushed towards him. Nothing daunted by the danger which seemed to threaten him, Curl raised his gun; but the powder being damped by the blood from his wound, it did not fire. He instantly picked up West's gun (which he had been carrying to relieve West of part of his burden) and discharging it at his assailant, brought him to the ground.

The whites being by this time rid of their encumbrances, the Indians retreated in two parties and pursued different routes, not however without being pursued. Alexander West being swift of foot, soon came near enough to fire, and brought down a second, but having only wounded him, and seeing the Indians spring behind trees, he could not advance to finish him; nor could he again shoot at him, the flint having fallen out when he first fired. Jackson (who was hunting sheep not far off) hearing the report of the guns, ran towards the spot, and being in sight of the Indian when West shot, saw him fall and afterwards recover and hobble off. Simon Schoolcraft, following after West, came to him just after Jackson, with his gun cocked; and asking where the Indians were, was advised by Jackson to get behind a tree, or they would soon let him know where they were. Instantly the report of a gun was heard, and Schoolcraft let fall his arm. The ball had passed through it, and striking a steel tobacco box in his waistcoat pocket, did him no farther injury. Cutright, when West fired at one of the Indians, saw another of them drop behind a log, and changing his position, espied him, where the log was a little raised from the earth. With steady nerves, he drew upon him. The moaning cry of the savage, as he sprang from the ground and moved haltingly away, convinced them that the shot had taken effect. The rest of the Indians continued behind trees, until they observed a reinforcement coming up to the aid of the whites, and they fled with the utmost precipitancy. Night soon coming on, those who followed them, had to give over the pursuit.

A company of fifteen men went early next morning to the battle ground, and taking the trail of the Indians and pursuing it some distance, came to where they had some horses (which they had stolen after the skirmish) hobbled out on a fork of Hacker's creek. They [210] then found the plunder which the savages had taken from neighboring houses, and supposing that their wounded warriors were near, the whites commenced looking for them, when a gun was fired at them by an Indian concealed in a laurel thicket, which wounded John Cutright.[5] The whites then caught the stolen horses and returned with them and the plunder to the fort.

For some time after this, there was nothing occurring to indicate the presence of Indians in the Buchannon settlement, and some of those who were in the fort, hoping that they should not be again visited by them this season, determined on returning to their homes. Austin Schoolcraft was one of these, and being engaged in removing some of his property from the fort, as he and his niece were passing through a swamp in their way to his house, they were shot at by some Indians. Mr. Schoolcraft was killed and his niece taken prisoner.

In June, John Owens, John Juggins and Owen Owens, were attacked by some Indians, as they were going to their cornfield on Booth's creek; and the two former were killed and scalped. Owen Owens being some distance behind them, made his escape to the fort. John Owens the younger, who had been to the pasture field for the plough horses, heard the guns, but not suspecting any danger to be near, rode forward towards the cornfield. As he was proceeding along the path by a fence side, riding one and leading another horse, he was fired at by several Indians, some of whom afterwards rushed forward and caught at the bridle reins; yet he escaped unhurt from them all.

The savages likewise visited Cheat river, during the spring, and coming to the house of John Sims, were discovered by a negro woman, who ran immediately to the door and alarmed the family.—Bernard Sims (just recovering from the small pox) taking down his gun, and going to the door, was shot. The Indians, perceiving that he was affected with a disease, of all others the most terrifying to them, not only did not perform the accustomed operation of scalping, but retreated with as much rapidity, as if they had been pursued by an overwhelming force of armed men,—exclaiming as they ran "small pox, small pox."

After the attack on Donnelly's fort in May 1778, the Indians made no attempt to effect farther mischiefs in the Greenbrier country, until this year. The fort at Point Pleasant guarded the principal pass to the settlements on the Kenhawa, in the Levels, and on Greenbrier river, and the reception with which they had met at Col. Donnelly's, convinced them that not much was to be gained by incursions into that section of the frontiers. But as they were now making great preparations for effectual operations against the whole border country, a party of them was despatched to this portion of it, at once for the purpose of rapine and murder, and to ascertain the state of the country and its capacity to resist invasion.

The party then sent into Greenbrier consisted of twenty-two [211] warriors, and committed their first act of atrocity near the house of Lawrence Drinnan, a few miles above the Little Levels. Henry Baker and Richard Hill, who were then staying there, going early in the morning to the river to wash, were shot at by them: Baker was killed, but Hill escaped back to the house. When the Indians fired at Baker, he was near a fence between the river and Drinnan's and within gunshot of the latter place. Fearing to cross the fence for the purpose of scalping him, they prized it up, and with a pole fastening a noose around his neck, drew him down the river bank & scalped and left him there.

Apprehensive of an attack on the house, Mr. Drinnan made such preparations as were in his power to repel them, and despatched a servant to the Little Levels, with the intelligence and to procure assistance. He presently returned with twenty men, who remained there during the night, but in the morning, seeing nothing to contradict the belief that the Indians had departed, they buried Baker, and set out on their return to the Levels, taking with them all who were at Drinnan's and the most of his property. Arrived at the fork of the road, a question arose whether they should take the main route, leading through a gap which was deemed a favorable situation for an ambuscade, or continue on the farther but more open and secure way. A majority preferred the latter; but two young men, by the name of Bridger, separated from the others, and travelling on the nearer path, were both killed at the place, where it was feared danger might be lurking.

The Indians next proceeded to the house of Hugh McIver, where they succeeded in killing its owner, and in making prisoner his wife; and in going from thence, met with John Prior, who with his wife and infant were on their way to the country on the south side of the Big Kenawha. Prior was shot through the breast, but anxious for the fate of his wife and child, stood still, 'till one of the Indians came up and laid hold on him. Notwithstanding the severe wound which he had received, Prior proved too strong for his opponent, and the other Indians not interfering, forced him at length to disengage himself from the struggle. Prior, then seeing that no violence was offered to Mrs. Prior or the infant, walked off without any attempt being made to stop, or otherwise molest him: the Indians no doubt suffering him to depart under the expectation that he would obtain assistance and endeavor to regain his wife and child, and that an opportunity of waylaying any party coming with this view, would be [212] then afforded them. Prior returned to the settlement, related the above incidents and died that night. His wife and child were never after heard of, and it is highly probable they were murdered on their way, as being unable to travel as expeditiously as the Indians wished.

They next went to a house, occupied by Thomas Drinnon and a Mr. Smith with their families, where they made prisoners of Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Drinnon and a child; and going then towards their towns, killed, on their way, an old gentleman by the name of Monday and his wife. This was the last outrage committed by the Indians in the Greenbrier settlements. And although the war was carried on by them against the frontier settlements, with energy for years after, yet did they not again attempt an incursion into it. Its earlier days had been days of tribulation and wo, and those who were foremost in occupying and forming settlements in it, had to endure all that savage fury could inflict. Their term of probation, was indeed of comparatively short duration, but their sufferings for a time, were many and great. The scenes of murder and blood, exhibited on Muddy creek and the Big Levels in 1776, will not soon be effaced from the memory; and the lively interest excited in the bosoms of many, for the fate of those who there treacherously perished, unabated by time, still gleams in the countenance, when tradition recounts the tale of their unhappy lot.

——- [1] L. V. McWhorter, of Berlin, W. Va., writes me: "A few years ago, the descendants of David Morgan erected a monument on the spot where fell one of the Indians. On the day of the unveiling of the monument, there was on exhibition at the spot, a shot-pouch and saddle skirt made from the skins of the Indians. Greenwood S. Morgan, a great-grandson of the Indian slayer, informs me that the shot-pouch is now in the possession of a distant relative, living in Wetzel County, W. Va. The knife with which the Indian was killed, is owned by Morgan's descendants in Marion County, W. Va."—R. G. T.

[2] See p. 262, note, for account of Capt. Henry Bird's attack on Fort Laurens.—R. G. T.

[3] Mr. McWhorter says that this fort stood on an eminence, where is now the residence of Minor C. Hall. Upon the fort being abandoned by the settlers, the Indians burned it. When the whites again returned to their clearings, a new fort was erected, locally called Beech Fort, "because built entirely of beech logs—beech trees standing very thick in this locality." Beech Fort was not over 500 yards from the old West Fort; it was "in a marshy flat, some 75 yards east of the house built by the pioneer Henry McWhorter, and still extant as the residence of Ned J. Jackson." In the same field where Beech Fort was, "Alexander West discovered an Indian one evening; he fired and wounded him in the shoulder. The Indian made off, and fearing an ambuscade West would not venture in pursuit. Two weeks later, he ventured to hunt for the red man. Two miles distant, on what is now known as Life's Run, a branch of Hacker's Creek, the dead savage was found in a cleft of rocks, into which he had crawled and miserably perished. His shoulder was badly crushed by West's bullet."

Henry McWhorter, born in Orange County, N. Y., November 13, 1760, was a soldier in the Revolution, from 1777 to the close. In 1784, he settled about two miles from West's Fort; three years later, he moved nearer to the fort, and there built the house of hewn logs, mentioned above, which "is to-day in a good state of preservation." McWhorter died February 4, 1848.—R. G. T.

[4] Alexander West was prominent as a frontier scout. Rev. J. M. McWhorter, who saw him frequently, gives this description of him: "A tall, spare-built man, very erect, strong, lithe, and active; dark-skinned, prominent Roman nose, black hair, very keen eyes; not handsome, rather raw-boned, but with an air and mien that commanded the attention and respect of those with whom he associated. Never aggressive, he lifted his arm against the Indians only in time of war." West died in 1834. His house of hewed logs is, with its large barn, still standing and occupied by his relatives, about a mile east of the site of West's Fort.—R. G. T.

[5] L. V. McWhorter says: "The branch of Hacker's creek on which John Cutright was wounded, is now known as Laurel Lick, near Berlin, W. Va." For notice of Cutright, see p. 137, note.—R. G. T.


Early in June 1780, every necessary preparation having been previously made, the Indian and Canadian forces destined to invade Kentucky, moved from their place of rendezvous, to fulfil the objects of the expedition. In their general plan of the campaign, Louisville was the point against which operations were first to be directed. The hero of Kaskaskias and St. Vincent had been for some time stationed there, with a small body of troops, to intercept the passage of war parties into the interior, and the force thus placed under his command, having been considerably augmented by the arrival of one hundred and fifty Virginia soldiers under Colonel Slaughter, that place had assumed the appearance of a regular fortification, capable of withstanding a severe shock;[1] while detachments from it gave promise of security to the settlements remote from the river, as well by detecting and checking every attempt at invasion, as by acting offensively against the main Indian towns, from which hostile parties would sally, spreading desolation along their path. The reduction of this establishment, would at once give wider scope to savage hostilities and gratify the wounded pride of the Canadians. Stung by the boldness and success of Colonel Clarke's adventure, and fearing the effect which it might have on their Indian allies, they seemed determined to achieve a victory over him, and strike a retributive blow against the position which he then held.

[214] It is highly probable however, that the reputation which, the gallant exploits of Colonel Clarke had acquired for him, induced some doubts, in the minds of the commanding officers, of the ultimate success of a movement against that post.[2] They changed their destination; and when their army arrived in their boats at the Ohio, instead of floating with its rapid current to the point proposed, they chose to stem the stream; and availing themselves of an uncommon swell of the waters, ascended the river Licking to its forks, where they landed their men and munitions of war.[3]

Not far from the place of debarkation, there was a station,[4] reared under the superintendence of Captain Ruddle, and occupied by several families and many adventurers. Thither Colonel Byrd, with his combined army of Canadians and Indians then amounting to one thousand men, directed his march; and arriving before it on the 22d of June, gave the first notice, which the inhabitants had of the presence of an enemy, by a discharge of his cannon. He then sent in a flag, demanding the immediate surrender of the place. Knowing that it was impossible to defend the station against artillery, Captain Ruddle consented to surrender it, provided the inhabitants should be considered prisoners to the British, and not to the Indians. To this proposition Colonel Byrd assented, and the gates were thrown open. The savages instantly rushed in, each laying his hands on the first person with whom he chanced to meet. Parents and children, husbands and wives, were thus torn from each other; and the [214] air was rent with sighs of wailing, and shrieks of agony. In vain did Captain Ruddle exclaim, against the enormities which were perpetrated in contravention to the terms of capitulation. To his remonstrances, Colonel Byrd replied that he was unable to control them, and affirmed, that he too was in their power.

That Colonel Byrd was really unable to check the enormities of the savages, will be readily admitted, when the great disparity of the Canadian and Indian troops, and the lawless and uncontrolable temper of the latter, are taken into consideration. That he had the inclination to stop them, cannot be [215] doubted—his subsequent conduct furnished the most convincing evidence, that the power to effect it, was alone wanting in him.[5]

After Ruddle's station had been completely sacked, and the prisoners disposed of, the Indians clamoured to be led against Martin's station, then only five miles distant. Affected with the barbarities which he had just witnessed, Colonel Byrd peremptorily refused, unless the chiefs would guaranty that the prisoners, which might be there taken, should be entirely at his disposal. For awhile the Indians refused to accede to these terms, but finding Colonel Byrd, inflexible in his determination, they at length consented, that the prisoners should be his, provided the plunder were allowed to them.—Upon this agreement, they marched forward. Martin's station, like Ruddle's, was incapable of offering any available opposition. It was surrendered on the first summons, and the prisoners and plunder divided, in conformity with the compact between Colonel Byrd and the savages.

The facility, with which these conquests were made, excited the thirst of the Indians for more. Not satisfied with the plundering of Ruddle's and Martin's stations, their rapacity prompted them to insist on going against Bryant's and Lexington. Prudence forbade it. The waters were rapidly subsiding, and the fall of the Licking river, would have rendered it impracticable to convey their artillery to the Ohio. Their success too, was somewhat doubtful; and it was even then difficult to procure provisions, for the subsistence of the prisoners already taken.[6] Under the influence of these considerations, Colonel Byrd determined to return to the boats, and embarking on these his artillery and the Canadian troops, descended the river; while the Indians, with their plunder, and the prisoners taken at Ruddle's, moved across the country.

Among those who were taken captive at Ruddle's station, was a man of the name of Hinkstone, remarkable for activity and daring, and for uncommon tact and skill as a woodsman. On the second night of their march, the Indians encamped on the bank of the river, and in consequence of a sudden shower of rain, postponed kindling their fires until dark, when part of the savages engaged in this business, while the remainder guarded the prisoners. Hinkstone thought the darkness favorable to escape, and inviting its attempt. He resolved on trying it, and springing suddenly from them, ran a small [216] distance and concealed himself behind a large log, under the shade of a wide spreading tree. The alarm was quickly given, and the Indians, pursuing, searched for him in every direction. It was fruitless and unavailing. Hid in thick obscurity, no eye could distinguish his prostrate body. Perceiving at length, by the subsiding of the noise without the camp, that the Indians had abandoned the search, he resumed his flight, with the stillness of death. The heavens afforded him no sign, by which he could direct his steps. Not a star twinkled through the dark clouds which enveloped the earth, to point out his course. Still he moved on, as he supposed, in the direction of Lexington. He had mistaken the way, and a short space of time, served to convince him that he was in error. After wandering about for two hours, he came in sight of the Indian fires again. Perplexed by his devious ramble, he was more at fault than ever. The sky was still all darkness, and he had recourse to the trees in vain, to learn the points of the compass by the feeling of the moss. He remembered that at nightfall, the wind blew a gentle breeze from the west; but it had now, become so stilled, that it no longer made any impression on him. The hunter's expedient, to ascertain the direction of the air, occurred to him.—He dipped his finger in water, and, knowing that evaporation and coolness would be first felt on the side from which the wind came, he raised it high in the air. It was enough.—Guided by this unerring indication, and acting on the supposition that the current of air still flowed from the point from which it had proceeded at night, he again resumed his flight. After groping in the wilderness for some time, faint and enfeebled, he sat down to rest his wearied limbs, and sought their invigoration in refreshing sleep. When he awoke, fresh dangers encircled him, but he was better prepared to elude, or encounter them.

At the first dawn of day, his ears were assailed by the tremulous bleating of the fawn, the hoarse gobbling of the turkey, and the peculiar sounds of other wild animals. Familiar with the deceptive artifices, practised to allure game to the hunter, he was quickly alive to the fact, that they were the imitative cries of savages in quest of provisions. Sensible of his situation, he became vigilant to discover the approach of danger, and active in avoiding it. Several times however, with all his wariness, he found himself within a few paces of [217] some one of the Indians; but fortunately escaping their observation, made good his escape, and reached Lexington in safety, gave there the harrowing intelligence of what had befallen the inhabitants of Ruddle's and Martin's stations.

The Indians after the escape of Hinkstone, crossed the Ohio river at the mouth of Licking, and, separating into small parties, proceeded to their several villages. The Canadian troops descended Licking to the Ohio, and this river to the mouth of the Great Miami, up which they ascended as far as it was navigable for their boats, and made their way thence by land to Detroit.

The Indian army destined to operate against North Western Virginia, was to enter the country in two divisions of one hundred and fifty warriors each; the one crossing the Ohio near below Wheeling, the other, at the mouth of Racoon creek, about sixty miles farther up. Both were, avoiding the stronger forts, to proceed directly to Washington, then known as Catfishtown, between which place and the Ohio, the whole country was to be laid waste.

The division crossing below Wheeling, was soon discovered by scouts, who giving the alarm, caused most of the inhabitants of the more proximate settlements, to fly immediately to that place, supposing that an attack was meditated on it. The Indians however, proceeded on the way to Washington making prisoners of many, who, although apprized that an enemy was in the country, yet feeling secure in their distance from what was expected to be the theatre of operations, neglected to use the precaution necessary to guard them against becoming captives to the savages. From all the prisoners, they learned the same thing,—that the inhabitants had gone to Wheeling with a view of concentrating the force of the settlements to effect their repulsion. This intelligence alarmed them. The chiefs held a council, in which it was determined, instead of proceeding to Washington, to retrace their steps across the Ohio, lest their retreat, if delayed 'till the whites had an opportunity of organizing themselves for battle, should be entirely cut off. Infuriate at the blasting of their hopes of blood and spoil, they resolved to murder all their male prisoners—exhausting on their devoted heads, the fury of disappointed expectation. Preparations to carry this resolution into effect, were immediately begun to be made.

The unfortunate victims to their savage wrath, were led [218] forth from among their friends and their families,—their hands were pinioned behind them,—a rope was fastened about the neck of each and that bound around a tree, so as to prevent any motion of the head. The tomahawk and scalping knife were next drawn from their belts, and the horrid purpose of these preparations, fully consummated.

"Imagination's utmost stretch" can hardly fancy a more heart-rending scene than was there exhibited. Parents, in the bloom of life and glow of health, mercilessly mangled to death, in the presence of children, whose sobbing cries served but to heighten the torments of the dying.—Husbands, cruelly lacerated, and by piece-meal deprived of life, in view of the tender partners of their bosoms, whose agonizing shrieks, increasing the anguish of torture, sharpened the sting of death. It is indeed

——"A fearful thing, To see the human soul, take wing, In any shape,—in any mood;"

but that wives and children should be forced to behold the last ebb of life, and to witness the struggle of the departing spirit of husbands and fathers, under such horrific circumstances, is shocking to humanity, and appalling, even in contemplation.

Barbarities such as these, had considerable influence on the temper and disposition of the inhabitants of the country. They gave birth to a vindictive feeling in many, which led to the perpetration of similar enormities and sunk civilized man, to the degraded level of the barbarian. They served too, to arouse them to greater exertion, to subdue the savage foe in justifiable warfare, and thus prevent their unpleasant recurrence.

So soon as the Indian forces effected a precipitate retreat across the Ohio, preparations were begun to be made for acting offensively against them. An expedition was concerted, to be carried on against the towns at the forks of the Muskingum; and through the instrumentality of Col's Zane and Shepard, Col. Broadhead, commander of the forces at Fort Pitt, was prevailed upon to co-operate in it.[7] Before however, it could be carried into effect, it was deemed advisable to proceed against the Munsie towns, up the north branch of the Alleghany river; the inhabitants of which, had been long engaged in active [219] hostilities, and committed frequent depredations on the frontiers of Pennsylvania. In the campaign against them, as many of those, who resided in the settlements around Wheeling, as could be spared from the immediate defence of their own neighborhoods, were consociated with the Pennsylvania troops, and the regulars under Col. Broadhead. It eventuated in the entire destruction of all their corn, (upwards of 200 acres,) and in the cutting off a party of forty warriors, on their way to the settlements in Westmoreland county.

Very soon after the return of the army, from the Alleghany, the troops, with which it was intended to operate against the Indian villages up the Muskingum and amounting to eight hundred, rendezvoused at Wheeling. From thence, they proceeded directly for the place of destination, under the command of Col. Broadhead.[8]

When the army arrived near to Salem (a Moravian town,)[9] many of the militia expressed a determination to go forward and destroy it, but as the Indians residing there, had ever been in amity with the whites, and were not known to have ever participated in the murderous deeds of their more savage red brethren, the officers exerted themselves effectually, to repress that determination. Col. Broadhead sent forward an express to the Rev'd Mr. Heckewelder (the missionary of that place,)[10] acquainting him with the object of the expedition, & requesting a small supply of provisions, and that he would accompany the messenger to camp. When Mr. Heckewelder came, the commander enquired of him, if any christian Indians were engaged in hunting or other business, in the direction of their march,—stating, that if they were, they might be exposed to danger, as it would be impracticable to distinguish between them and other Indians, and that he should greatly regret the happening to them, of any unpleasant occurrence, through ignorance or mistake. On hearing there were not, the army was ordered to resume its march, and proceeded towards the forks of the river.

At White Eyes plain, near to the place of destination, an Indian was discovered and made prisoner. Two others were seen near there, and fired at; and notwithstanding one of them was wounded, yet both succeeded in effecting their escape. Apprehensive that they would hasten to the Indian towns, and communicate the fact that an army of whites was near at hand, Col. Broadhead moved rapidly forward with the [220] troops, notwithstanding a heavy fall of rain, to reach Coshocton, (the nearest village,)[11] and take it by surprise. His expectations were not disappointed. Approaching the town, the right wing of the army was directed to occupy a position above it, on the river; the left to assume a stand below, while the centre marched directly upon it. The Indian villages, ignorant of the fact that an enemy was in their country, were all made prisoners without the firing of a single gun. So rapid, and yet so secret, had been the advance of the army, that every part of the town was occupied by the troops, before the Indians knew of its approach.

Successful as they thus far were, yet the expedition accomplished but a portion of what had been contemplated. The other towns were situated on the opposite side of the river, and this was so swollen by the excessive rains which had fallen and continued yet to deluge the earth, that it was impracticable to cross over to them; and Col. Broadhead, seeing the impossibility of achieving any thing farther, commenced laying waste the crops about Coshocton. This measure was not dictated by a spirit of revenge, naturally enkindled by the exterminating warfare, waged against the whites by the savages, but was a politic expedient, to prevent the accomplishment of their horrid purposes and to lessen the frequency of their incursions. When they fail to derive sustenance from their crops of corn and other edible vegetables, the Indians are forced to have recourse to hunting, to obtain provisions, and consequently, to suspend their hostile operations for a season. To produce this desirable result, was the object sought to be obtained by the destruction which was made of every article of subsistence, found here and at the Munsie towns, and subsequently at other places.

It remained then to dispose of the prisoners. Sixteen warriors, particularly obnoxious for their diabolical deeds, were pointed out by Pekillon (a friendly Delaware chief who accompanied the army of Col. Broadhead) as fit subjects of retributive justice; and taken into close custody. A council of war was then held, to determine on their fate, and which doomed them to death. They were taken some distance from town, despatched with tomahawks and spears, and then scalped. The other captives were committed to the care of the militia, to be conducted to Fort Pitt.

On the morning after the taking of Coshocton, an Indian, [221] making his appearance on the opposite bank of the river, called out for the "Big Captain." Col. Broadhead demanded what he wished. I want peace replied the savage. Then send over some of your chiefs, said the Colonel. May be you kill, responded the Indian. No, said Broadhead, they shall not be killed. One of their chiefs, a fine looking fellow, then come over; and while he and Col. Broadhead were engaged in conversation, a militiaman came up, and with a tomahawk which he had concealed in the bosom of his hunting shirt, struck him a severe blow on the hinder part of his head. The poor Indian fell, and immediately expired.

This savage like deed was the precursor of other, and perhaps equally attrocious enormities. The army on its return, had not proceeded more than half a mile from Coshocton, when the militia guarding the prisoners, commenced murdering them. In a short space of time, a few women and children alone remained alive. These were taken to Fort Pitt, and after a while exchanged for an equal number of white captives.

The putting to death the sixteen prisoners designated by Pekillon, can be considered in no other light, than as a punishment inflicted for their great offences; and was certainly right and proper. Not so with the deliberate murder of the chief, engaged in negotiation with Col. Broadhead. He had come over under the implied assurance of the security, due to a messenger for peace, and after a positive promise of protection had been given him by the commander of the army.—His death can, consequently, only be considered as an unwarrantable murder; provoked indeed, by the barbarous and bloody conduct of the savages. These, though they do not justify, should certainly extenuate the offence.

The fact, that the enemy, with whom they were contending, did not observe the rules of war, and was occasionally, guilty of the crime, of putting their prisoners to death, would certainly authorize the practice of greater rigor, than should be exercised towards those who do not commit such excesses. This extraordinary severity, of itself, tends to beget a greater regard for what is allowable among civilized men, and to produce conformity with those usages of war, which were suggested by humanity, and are sanctioned by all. But the attainment of this object, if it were the motive which prompted to the deed, can not justify the murder of the prisoners, placed [222] under the safe keeping of the militia. It evinced a total disregard of the authority of their superior officer. He had assured them they should only be detained as prisoners, and remain free from farther molestation; and nothing, but the commission of some fresh offence, could sanction the enormity. But, however sober reflection may condemn those acts as outrages of propriety, yet so many and so great, were the barbarous excesses committed by the savages upon the whites in their power, that the minds of those who were actors in those scenes, were deprived of the faculty of discriminating between what was right or wrong to be practised towards them. And if acts, savouring of sheer revenge, were done by them, they should be regarded as but the ebullitions of men, under the excitement of great and damning wrongs, and which, in their dispassionate moments, they would condemn, even in themselves.

When, upon the arrival of Hinkston at Lexington, the people became acquainted with the mischief which had been wrought by the Canadian and Indian army,[12] every bosom burned with a desire to avenge those outrages, and to retort them on their authors. Runners were despatched in every direction, with the intelligence, and the cry for retribution, arose in all the settlements. In this state of feeling, every eye was involuntarily turned towards Gen. Clarke as the one who should lead them forth to battle; and every ear was opened, to receive his counsel. He advised a levy of four-fifths of the male inhabitants, capable of bearing arms, and that they should speedily assemble at the mouth of Licking, and proceed from thence to Chilicothe. He ordered the building of a number of transport boats, and directed such other preparations to be made, as would facilitate the expedition, and ensure success to its object. When all was ready, the boats with the provisions and stores on board, were ordered up the Ohio, under the command of Col. Slaughter.

In ascending the river, such was the rapidity of the current, that the boats were compelled to keep near to the banks, and were worked up, in two divisions—one near each shore. While thus forcing their way slowly up the stream, one of the boats, being some distance in advance of the others and close under the north western bank, was fired into by a party of Indians. The fire was promptly returned; but before the other boats could draw nigh to her aid, a number of those on [223] board of her, was killed and wounded. As soon however, as they approached and opened a fire upon the assailants, the savages withdrew, and the boats proceeded to the place of rendezvous, without farther interruption.

On the second of August, General Clarke took up the line of march from the place where Cincinnati now stands, at the head of nine hundred and seventy men. They proceeded without any delay, to the point of destination, where they arrived on the sixth of the month. The town was abandoned, and many of the houses were yet burning, having been fired on the preceding day. There were however, several hundred acres of luxuriant corn growing about it, every stalk of which was cut down and destroyed.

The army then moved in the direction of the Piqua Towns, twelve miles farther, and with a view to lay waste every thing around it, and with the hope of meeting there an enemy, with whom to engage in battle; but before they had got far, a heavy shower of rain, accompanied with loud thunder and high winds, forced them to encamp. Every care which could be taken to keep the guns dry, was found to be of no avail, and General Clarke, with prudent precaution, had them all fired and re-loaded—continuing to pursue this plan, to preserve them fit for use, whenever occasion required, and keeping the troops on the alert and prepared to repel any attack which might be made on them—during the night.

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