Among the prisoners taken by the Indians, were Colonel Crawford, the commander, and Dr. Knight of Pittsburg, who had gone upon the expedition as surgeon. On the 10th of June, these gentlemen were marched toward the principal town of the Wyandots, where they arrived the next day. Here they beheld the mangled bodies of some of their late companions, and were doomed to see others, yet living, butchered before their eyes. Here, likewise, they saw Simon Girty, who appeared to take an infernal delight in gazing upon the dead bodies, and viewing the tortures which were inflicted upon the living. The features of this wretch, who had known Colonel Crawford at Fort Pitt, were clad in malicious smiles at beholding the brave soldier in his present strait; and toward Dr. Knight he conducted himself with insolence as well as barbarity. The Colonel was soon stripped naked, painted black, and commanded to sit down by a large fire which was blazing close at hand; and in this situation he was surrounded by all the old women and young boys of the town, and severely beaten with sticks and clubs. While this was going on, the Indians were sinking a large stake in the ground, and building a circle of brushwood and hickory sticks around it, with a diameter of some twelve or fifteen feet. These preparations completed, Crawford's hands were tied firmly behind his back, and by his wrists he was bound to the stake. The pile was then fired in several places, and the quick flames curled into the air. Girty took no part in these operations, but sat upon his horse at a little distance, observing them with a malignant satisfaction. Catching his eye at the moment the pile was fired, Crawford inquired of the renegade if the savages really meant to burn him. Girty coldly answered "Yes," and the Colonel calmly resigned himself to his fate. The whole scene is minutely described in the several histories which have been written of this unfortunate expedition; but the particulars are too horrible to be dwelt upon here For more than two hours did the gallant soldier survive at that flame-girdled stake; and during the latter half of this time, he was put to every torture which savage ingenuity could devise, and hellish vengeance execute. Once only did a word escape his lips. In the extremity of his agony he again caught the eye of Girty; and he is reported to have exclaimed at this time, "Girty! Girty! shoot me through the heart! Do not refuse me! quick!—quick!" And it is said that the monster merely replied, "Don't you see I have no gun, Colonel?" then burst into a loud laugh and turned away. Crawford said no more; he sank repeatedly beneath the pain and suffocation which he endured, and was as often aroused by a new torture; but in a little while the "vital spark" fled, and the black and swollen body lay senseless at the foot of the stake.
Dr. Knight was now removed from the spot, and placed under the charge of a Shawanee warrior to be taken to Chillicothe, where he was to share in the terrible fate of his late companion. The Doctor, however, was fortunate enough to effect his escape; and after wandering through the wilderness for three weeks, in a state bordering on starvation, he reached Pittsburg. He had been an eye-witness of all the tortures inflicted upon the Colonel, and subsequently published a journal of the expedition; and it is from this that the particulars have been derived of the several accounts which have been published of the Burning of Crawford.
It was not to be expected that such a man as Simon Girty could, for a great many years, maintain his influence among a people headed by chiefs and warriors like Black-Hoof, Buckongahelas, Little Turtle, Tarhe, and so forth. Accordingly we find the ascendancy of the renegade at its height about the period of the expedition against Bryant's Station, already described; and not long after this it began to wane, when, discontent and disappointment inducing him to give way to his natural appetites, he partook freely of all intoxicating liquors, and in the course of a few years became a beastly drunkard. It is believed that he at one time seriously meditated an abandonment of the Indians, and a return to the whites; and an anecdote related by McClung, in his notice of the emigration to Kentucky, by way of the Ohio River, in the year 1785, would seem to give color to this opinion. But if the intention ever was seriously indulged, it is most likely that fear of the treatment he would receive on being recognized in the frontier settlements, on account of his many bloody enormities, prevented him from carrying it into effect. He remained with the Indians in Ohio till Wayne's victory, when he forsook the scenes of his former influence and savage greatness, and established himself somewhere in Upper Canada. He fought in the bloody engagement which terminated in the defeat and butchery of St. Clair's army in 1791, and was at the battle of the Fallen Timbers in 1794; but he had no command in either of those engagements, and was not at this time a man of any particular influence.
In Canada, Girty was something of a trader, but gave himself up almost wholly to intoxicating drinks, and became a perfect sot. At this time he suffered much from rheumatism and other diseases; but he had grown a great braggart, and amidst his severest pains he would entertain his associates, and all who were willing to listen, with stories of his past pranks and cruelty. He had now the most exaggerated notions of the honor attaching to the character of a great warrior; and for some years before his death his constantly-expressed wish was, that he might find an opportunity of signalizing his last years by some daring action, and die upon the field of battle. Whether sincere in this wish or not, the opportunity was afforded him. He fought with the Indians at Proctor's defeat on the Thames in 1814, and was among those who were here cut down and trodden under foot by Colonel Johnson's regiment of mounted Kentuckians.
Of the birth-place and family of Simon Girty we have not been able to procure any satisfactory information. It is generally supposed, from the fact that nearly all of his early companions were Virginians, that he was a native of the Old Dominion; but one of the early pioneers, (yet living in Franklin County,) who knew Girty at Pittsburg before his defection, thinks that his native State was Pennsylvania. This venerable gentleman is likewise of the opinion, that it was the disappointment of not getting an office to which he aspired that first filled Girty's breast with hatred of the whites, and roused in him those dark thoughts and bitter feelings which subsequently, on the occurrence of the first good opportunity, induced him to desert his countrymen and league himself with the Indians. That Girty was an applicant or candidate for some office, and was defeated in his efforts to obtain it by an individual who was generally considered less deserving of it than he, my informant has distinct recollections; and also remembers that his defeat was occasioned principally through the exertions, in behalf of his opponent, of Colonel William Crawford. This affords a key to the cause of Girty's fiend-like conduct toward the Colonel when, some ten years afterward, the latter was bound to the stake at one of the Wyandot towns, and in the extremity of his agony besought the renegade to put an end to his misery by shooting him through the heart: it offers no apology, however, for Girty's brutality on that occasion.
The career of the renegade, commenced by treason and pursued through blood to the knee, affords a good lesson, which might well receive some remark; but this narrative has already extended to an unexpected length, and must here close. It is a dark record; but the histories of all new countries contain somewhat similar passages, and their preservation in this form may not be altogether without usefulness.
[Footnote 46: Gallagher: "Hesperian," vol. i., p. 343.]
[Footnote 47: Gallagher.]
[Footnote 48: Gallagher.]
[Footnote 49: Gallagher.]
Season of repose—Colonel Boone buys land—Builds a log-house and goes to farming—Kentucky organized on a new basis—The three Counties united in one district, and Courts established—Colonel Boone surprised by Indians—Escapes by a bold stratagem—Increase of emigration—Transportation of goods commences—Primitive manners and customs of the settlers—Hunting—The autumn hunt—The hunting camp-Qualifications of a good hunter—Animals hunted—The process of building and furnishing a cabin—The house-warming.
After the series of Indian hostilities recorded in the chapters immediately preceding this, Kentucky enjoyed a season of comparative repose. The cessation of hostilities between the United States and Great Britain in 1783, and the probable speedy cession of the British posts on the Northwestern frontier, discouraged the Indians, stopped their customary incursions on the Kentuckians, and gave them leisure to acquire and cultivate new tracts of land.
Colonel Boone, notwithstanding the heavy loss of money (which has been already mentioned) as he was on his journey to North Carolina, was now able to purchase several locations of land. He had been compensated for his military services by the Commonwealth of Virginia, to which Kentucky still belonged. On one of his locations he built a comfortable log-house and recommenced farming, with his usual industry and perseverance, varying the pursuits of agriculture with occasional indulgence in his favorite sport of hunting.
In 1783 Kentucky organized herself on a new basis, Virginia having united the three counties into one district, having a court of common law and chancery for the whole territory which now forms the State of Kentucky. The seat of justice at first was at Harrodsburg; but for want of convenient accommodations for the sessions of the courts, they were subsequently removed to Danville, which, in consequence, became for a season the centre and capital of the State.
A singular and highly characteristic adventure, in which Boone was engaged about this time, is thus narrated by Mr. Peck:
"Though no hostile attacks from Indians disturbed the settlements, still there were small parties discovered, or signs seen on the frontier settlements. On one occasion, about this period, four Indians came to the farm of Colonel Boone, and nearly succeeded in taking him prisoner. The particulars are given as they were narrated by Boone himself, at the wedding of a granddaughter, a few months before his decease, and they furnish an illustration of his habitual self-possession and tact with Indians. At a short distance from his cabin he had raised a small patch of tobacco to supply his neighbors, (for Boone never used the 'filthy weed' himself,) the amount, perhaps, of one hundred and fifty hills.
"As a shelter for curing it, he had built an enclosure of rails, a dozen feet in height, and covered it with cane and grass. Stalks of tobacco are usually split and strung on sticks about four feet in length. The ends of these are laid on poles, placed across the tobacco house, and in tiers, one above the other to the roof. Boone had fixed his temporary shelter in such a manner as to have three tiers. He had covered the lower tier, and the tobacco had become dry, when he entered the shelter for the purpose of removing the sticks to the upper tier, preparatory to gathering the remainder of the crop. He had hoisted up the sticks from the lower to the second tier, and was standing on the poles that supported it while raising the sticks to the upper tier, when four stout Indians, with guns, entered the low door and called him by name. 'Now, Boone, we got you. You no get away more. We carry you off to Chillicothe this time. You no cheat us any more.' Boone looked down upon their up-turned faces, saw their loaded guns pointed at his breast, and recognizing some of his old friends, the Shawanees, who had made him prisoner near the Blue Licks in 1778, coolly and pleasantly responded, 'Ah! old friends, glad to see you.' Perceiving that they manifested impatience to have him come down, he told them he was quite willing to go with them, and only begged they would wait where they were, and watch him closely, until he could finish removing his tobacco."
While parleying with them, inquiring after old acquaintances, and proposing to give them his tobacco when cured, he diverted their attention from his purpose, until he had collected together a number of sticks of dry tobacco, and so turned them as to fall between the poles directly in their faces. At the same instant, he jumped upon them with as much of the dry tobacco as he could gather in his arms, filling their mouths and eyes with its pungent dust; and blinding and disabling them from following him, rushed out and hastened to his cabin, where he had the means of defense. Notwithstanding the narrow escape, he could not resist the temptation, after retreating some fifteen or twenty yards, to look round and see the success of his achievement. The Indians blinded and nearly suffocated, were stretching out their hands and feeling about in different directions, calling him by name and cursing him for a rogue, and themselves for fools. The old man, in telling the story, imitated their gestures and tones of voice with great glee.
Emigration to Kentucky was now rapidly on the increase, and many new settlements were formed. The means of establishing comfortable homesteads increased. Horses, cattle, and swine were rapidly in creasing in number; and trading in various commodities became more general. From Philadelphia, merchandise was transported to Pittsburg on pack-horses, and thence taken down the Ohio River in flat-boats and distributed among the settlements on its banks. Country stores, land speculators, and paper money made their appearance, affording a clear augury of the future activity of the West in commercial industry and enterprise.
Most of the settlers came from the interior of North Carolina and Virginia; and brought with them the manners and customs of those States. These manners and customs were primitive enough. The following exceedingly graphic description, which we transcribe from "Doddridge's Notes," will afford the reader a competent idea of rural life in the times of Daniel Boone.
"HUNTING.—This was an important part of the employment of the early settlers of this country. For some years the woods supplied them with the greater amount of their subsistence, and with regard to some families, at certain times, the whole of it; for it was no uncommon thing for families to live several months without a mouthful of bread. It frequently happened that there was no breakfast until it was obtained from the woods. Fur and peltry were the people's money. They had nothing else to give in exchange for rifles, salt, and iron, on the other side of the mountains.
"The fall and early part of the winter was the season for hunting deer, and the whole of the winter, including part of the spring, for bears and fur-skinned animals. It was a customary saying that fur is good during every month in the name of which the letter R occurs.
"The class of hunters with whom I was best acquainted, were those whose hunting ranges were on the eastern side of the river, and at the distance of eight or nine miles from it. As soon as the leaves were pretty well down, and the weather became rainy, accompanied with light snows, these men, after acting the part of husbandmen, so far as the state of warfare permitted them to do so, soon began to feel that they were hunters. They became uneasy at home. Every thing about them became disagreeable. The house was too warm. The feather-bed too soft, and even the good wife was not thought, for the time being, a proper companion. The mind of the hunter was wholly occupied with the camp and chase.
"I have often seen them get up early in the morning at this season, walk hastily out, and look anxiously to the woods and snuff the autumnal winds with the highest rapture, then return into the house and cast a quick and attentive look at the rifle, which was always suspended to a joist by a couple of buck horns, or little forks. His hunting dog, understanding the intentions of his master, would wag his tail, and by every blandishment in his power express his readiness to accompany him to the woods.
"A day was soon appointed for the march of the little cavalcade to the camp. Two or three horses furnished with pack-saddles were loaded with flour, Indian meal, blankets, and every thing else requisite for the use of the hunter.
"A hunting camp, or what was called a half-faced cabin, was of the following form; the back part of it was sometimes a large log; at the distance of eight or ten feet from this, two stakes were set in the ground a few inches apart, and at the distance of eight or ten feet from these, two more, to receive the ends of the poles for the sides of the camp. The whole slope of the roof, was from the front to the back. The covering was made of slabs, skins, or blankets, or, if in the spring of the year, the bark of hickory or ash trees. The front was entirely open. The fire was built directly before this opening. The cracks between the logs were filled with moss. Dry leaves served for a bed. It is thus that a couple of men, in a few hours will construct for themselves a temporary, but tolerably comfortable defense, from the inclemencies of the weather. The beaver, otter, muskrat and squirrel are scarcely their equals in dispatch in fabricating for themselves a covert from the tempest!
"A little more pains would have made a hunting camp a defense against the Indians. A cabin ten feet square, bullet proof, and furnished with port-holes would have enabled two or three hunters to hold twenty Indians at bay for any length of time. But this precaution I believe was never attended to; hence the hunters were often surprised and killed in their camps.
"The site for the camp was selected with all the sagacity of the woodsman, so as to have it sheltered by the surrounding hills from every wind, but more especially from those of the north and west.
"An uncle of mine, of the name of Samuel Teter, occupied the same camp for several years in succession. It was situated on one of the southern branches of Cross Creek. Although I lived for many years not more than fifteen miles from the place, it was not till within a very few years ago that I discovered its situation. It was shown me by a gentleman living in the neighborhood. Viewing the hills round about it I soon perceived the sagacity of the hunter in the site for his camp. Not a wind could touch him; and unless by the report of his gun or the sound of his axe, it would have been by mere accident if an Indian had discovered his concealment.
"Hunting was not a mere ramble in pursuit of game, in which there was nothing of skill and calculation; on the contrary, the hunter, before he set out in the morning, was informed, by the state of the weather, in what situation he might reasonably expect to meet with his game; whether on the bottoms, sides or tops of the hills. In stormy weather, the deer always seek the most sheltered places, and the leeward side of the hills. In rainy weather, in which there is not much wind, they keep in the open woods on the highest ground.
"In every situation it was requisite for the hunter to ascertain the course of the wind, so as to get the leeward of the game. This he effected by putting his finger in his mouth, and holding it there until it became warm, then holding it above his head, the side which first becomes cold shows which way the wind blows.
"As it was requisite too for the hunter to know the cardinal points, he had only to observe the trees to ascertain them. The bark of an aged tree is thicker and much rougher on the north than on the south side. The same thing may be said of the moss: it is much thicker and stronger on the north than on the south side of the trees.
"The whole business of the hunter consists of a succession of intrigues. From morning till night he was on the alert to gain the wind of his game, and approach them without being discovered. If he succeeded in killing a deer, he skinned it, and hung it up out of the reach of the wolves, and immediately resumed the chase till the close of the evening, when he bent his course toward the camp; when he arrived there he kindled up his fire, and together with his fellow hunter, cooked his supper. The supper finished, the adventures of the day furnished the tales for the evening. The spike buck, the two and three-pronged buck, the doe and barren doe, figured through their anecdotes with great advantage. It should seem that after hunting awhile on the same ground, the hunters became acquainted with nearly all the gangs of deer within their range, so as to know each flock of them when they saw them. Often some old buck, by the means of his superior sagacity and watchfulness, saved his little gang from the hunter's skill, by giving timely notice of his approach. The cunning of the hunter and that of the old buck were staked against each other, and it frequently happened that at the conclusion of the hunting season, the old fellow was left the free uninjured tenant of his forest; but if his rival succeeded in bringing him down, the victory, was followed by no small amount of boasting on the part of the conqueror.
"When the weather was not suitable for hunting, the skins and carcasses of the game were brought in and disposed of.
"Many of the hunters rested from their labors on the Sabbath day; some from a motive of piety; others said that whenever they hunted on Sunday, they were sure to have bad luck on the rest of the week.
"THE HOUSE-WARMING.—I will proceed to state the usual manner of settling a young couple in the world.
"A spot was selected on a piece of land of one of the parents, for their habitation. A day was appointed shortly after their marriage, for commencing the work of building their cabin. The fatigue-party consisted of choppers, whose business it was to fell the trees and cut them off at proper lengths. A man with a team for hauling them to the place and arranging them, properly assorted, at the sides and ends of the building; a carpenter, if such he might be called, whose business it was to search the woods for a proper tree for making clapboards for the roof. The tree for this purpose must be straight-grained, and from three to four feet in diameter. The boards were split four feet long, with a large frown, and as wide as the timber would allow. They were used without planing or shaving Another division were employed in getting puncheons for the floor of the cabin; this was done by splitting trees, about eighteen inches in diameter, and hewing the faces of them with a broad-axe. They were half the length of the floor they were intended to make. The materials for the cabin were mostly prepared on the first day, and sometimes the foundation laid in the evening. The second day was allotted for the raising.
"In the morning of the next day the neighbors collected for the raising. The first thing to be done was the election of four corner men, whose business it was to notch and place the logs. The rest of the company furnished them with the timbers. In the meantime the boards and puncheons were collecting for the floor and roof, so that by the time the cabin was a few rounds high, the sleepers and floor began to be laid. The door was made by sawing or cutting the logs in one side so as to make an opening about three feet wide. This opening was secured by upright pieces of timber about three inches thick, through which holes were bored into the ends of the logs for the purpose of pinning them fast. A similar opening, but wider, was made at the end for the chimney. This was built of logs, and made large, to admit of a back and jambs of stone. At the square, two end logs projected a foot or eighteen inches beyond the wall, to receive the butting poles, as they were called, against which the ends of the first row of clapboards was supported. The roof was formed by making the end logs shorter, until a single log formed the comb of the roof, on these logs the clapboards were placed, the ranges of them lapping some distance over those next below them, and kept in their places by logs, placed at proper distances upon them.
"The roof, and sometimes the floor, were finished on the same day of the raising. A third day was commonly spent by a few carpenters in leveling off the floor, making a clapboard door and a table. This last was made of a split slab, and supported by four round legs set in auger-holes. Some three-legged stools were made in the same manner. Some pins stuck in the logs at the back of the house, supported some clapboards which served for shelves for the table furniture. A single fork, placed with its lower end in a hole in the floor, and the upper end fastened to a joist, served for a bedstead, by placing a pole in the fork with one end through a crack between the logs of the wall. This front pole was crossed by a shorter one within the fork, with its outer end through another crack. From the front pole, through a crack between the logs of the end of the house, the boards were put on which formed the bottom of the bed. Sometimes other poles were pinned to the fork a little distance above these, for the purpose of supporting the front and foot of the bed, while the walls were the supports of its back and head. A few pegs around the walls for a display of the coats of the women, and hunting-shirts of the men, and two small forks or buck-horns to a joist for the rifle and shot-pouch, completed the carpenter work.
"In the mean time masons were at work. With the heart pieces of the timber of which the clapboards were made, they made billets for chunking up the cracks between the logs of the cabin and chimney; a large bed of mortar was made for daubing up these cracks; a few stones formed the back and jambs of the chimney.
"The cabin being finished, the ceremony of house-warming took place, before the young couple were permitted to move into it.
"The house-warming was a dance of a whole night's continuance, made up of the relations of the bride and groom and their neighbors. On the day following the young couple took possession of their new mansion."
[Footnote 50: Perkins. Peck.]
Condition of the early settlers as it respects the mechanic arts—Want of skilled mechanics—Hominy block and hand-mill—Sweeps—Gunpowder—Water mills Clothing—Leather—Farm tools—Wooden ware—Sports—Imitating birds—Throwing the tomahawk—Athletic sports—Dancing—Shooting at marks—Emigration of the present time compared with that of the early settlers—Scarcity of iron—Costume—Dwellings—Furniture—Employments—The women—Their character—Diet—Indian corn—The great improvements in facilitating the early settlement of the West—Amusements.
Before having the subject of the actual condition of the early settlers in the West, we take another extract from "Doddridge's Notes," comprising his observations on the state of the mechanic arts among them, and an account of some of their favorite sports.
"MECHANIC ARTS.—In giving the history of the state of the mechanic arts as they were exercised at an early period of the settlement of this country, I shall present a people, driven by necessity to perform works of mechanical skill, far beyond what a person enjoying all the advantages of civilization would expect from a population placed in such destitute circumstances.
"My reader will naturally ask, where were their mills for grinding grain? Where their tanners for making leather? Where their smiths' shops for making and repairing their farming utensils? Who were their carpenters, tailors, cabinet-workmen, shoemakers, and weavers? The answer is, those manufacturers did not exist; nor had they any tradesmen, who were professedly such. Every family were under the necessity of doing every thing for themselves as well as they could. The hominy block and hand-mills were in use in most of our houses. The first was made of a large block of wood about three feet long, with an excavation burned in one end, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, so that the action of the pestle on the bottom threw the corn up to the sides toward the top of it, from whence it continually fell down into the centre.
"In consequence of this movement, the whole mass of the grain was pretty equally subjected to the strokes of the pestle. In the fall of the year, while the Indian corn was soft, the block and pestle did very well for making meal for johnny-cake and mush; but were rather slow when the corn became hard.
"The sweep was sometimes used to lessen the toil of pounding grain into meal. This was a pole of some springy, elastic wood, thirty feet long or more; the butt end was placed under the side of a house, or a large stump; this pole was supported by two forks, placed about one-third of its length from the butt end, so as to elevate the small end about fifteen feet from the ground; to this was attached, by a large mortise a piece of sapling about five or six inches in diameter, and eight or ten feet long. The lower end of this was shaped so as to answer for a pestle. A pin of wood was put through it, at a proper height, so that two persons could work at the sweep at once. This simple machine very much lessened the labor and expedited the work.
"I remember that when a boy I put up an excellent sweep at my father's. It was made of a sugar-tree sapling. It was kept going almost constantly from morning till night by our neighbors for a period of several weeks."
In the Greenbriar country, where they had a number of saltpeter caves, the first settlers made plenty of excellent gunpowder by the means of those sweeps and mortars.
"A machine, still more simple than the mortar and pestle, was used for making meal while the corn was too soft to be beaten. It was called a grater. This was a half-circular piece of tin, perforated with a punch from the concave side, and nailed by its edges to a block of wood. The ears of corn were rubbed on the rough edge of the holes, while the meal fell through them on the board or block, to which the grater was nailed, which, being in a slanting direction, discharged the meal into a cloth or bowl placed for its reception. This, to be sure, was a slow way of making meal; but necessity has no law.
"The hand-mill was better than the mortar and grater. It was made of two circular stones, the lowest of which was called the bed-stone, the upper one the runner. These were placed in a hoop, with a spout for discharging the meal. A staff was let into a hole in the upper surface of the runner, near the outer edge, and its upper end through a hole in a board fastened to a joist above, so that two persons could be employed in turning the mill at the same time. The grain was put into the opening in the runner by hand. The mills are still in use in Palestine, the ancient country of the Jews. To a mill of this sort our Saviour alluded when, with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, he said: 'Two women shall be grinding at a mill, the one shall be taken and the other left.'
"This mill is much preferable to that used at present in upper Egypt for making the dhourra bread. It is a smooth stone, placed on an inclined plane, upon which the grain is spread, which is made into meal by rubbing another stone up and down upon it.
"Our first water mills were of that description denominated tub-mills. It consists of a perpendicular shaft, to the lower end of which an horizontal wheel of about four or five feet diameter is attached, the upper end passes through the bedstone and carries the runner after the manner of a trundlehead. These mills were built with very little expense, and many of them answered the purpose very well.
"Instead of bolting cloths, sifters were in general use. These were made of deer skins in the state of parchment, stretched over a hoop and perforated with a hot wire.
"Our clothing was all of domestic manufacture. We had no other resource for clothing, and this, indeed, was a poor one. The crops of flax often failed, and the sheep were destroyed by the wolves. Linsey, which is made of flax and wool, the former the chain and the latter the filling, was the warmest and most substantial cloth we could make. Almost every house contained a loom, and almost every woman was a weaver.
"Every family tanned their own leather. The tan vat was a large trough sunk to the upper edge in the ground. A quantity of bark was easily obtained every spring in clearing and fencing land. This, after drying, was brought in, and in wet days was shaved and pounded on a block of wood with an axe or mallet. Ashes were used in place of lime for taking off the hair. Bears' oil, hogs' lard, and tallow answered the place of fish oil. The leather, to be sure, was coarse; but it was substantially good. The operation of currying was performed by a drawing-knife with its edge turned, after the manner of a currying-knife. The blocking for the leather was made of soot and hogs' lard.
"Almost every family contained its own tailors and shoemakers. Those who could not make shoes, could make shoepacks. These, like moccasins, were made of a single piece on the top of the foot. This was about two inches broad, and circular at the lower end. To this the main piece of leather was sewed, with a gathering stitch. The seam behind was like that of a moccasin. To the shoepack a sole was sometimes added. The women did the tailor-work. They could all cut-out, and make hunting-shirts, leggins, and drawers.
"The state of society which exists in every country at an early period of its settlements, is well calculated to call into action every native mechanical genius. So it happened in this country. There was in almost every neighborhood, some one whose natural ingenuity enabled him to do many things for himself and his neighbors, far above what could have been reasonably expected. With the few tools which they brought with them into the country, they certainly performed wonders. Their plows, harrows with their wooden teeth, and sleds, were in many instances well made. Their cooper-ware, which comprehended every thing for holding milk and water, was generally pretty well executed. The cedar-ware, by having alternately a white and red stave, was then thought beautiful; many of their puncheon floors were very neat, their joints close, and the top even and smooth. Their looms, although heavy, did very well. Those who could not exercise these mechanic arts, were under the necessity of giving labor or barter to their neighbors, in exchange for the use of them, so far as their necessities required.
"Sports.—One important pastime of our boys, was that of imitating the noise of every bird and beast in the woods. This faculty was not merely a pastime, but a very necessary part of education, on account of its utility in certain circumstances. The imitations of the gobbling, and other sounds of wild turkeys, often brought those keen-eyed, and ever-watchful tenants of the forest within the reach of their rifle. The bleating of the fawn, brought its dam to her death in the same way. The hunter often collected a company of mopish owls to the trees about his camp, and amused himself with their hoarse screaming; his howl would raise and obtain responses from a pack of wolves, so as to inform him of their neighborhood, as well as guard him against their depredations.
"This imitative faculty was sometimes requisite as a measure of precaution in war. The Indians, when scattered about in a neighborhood, often collected together, by imitating turkeys by day, and wolves or owls by night. In similar situations, our people did the same. I have often witnessed the consternation of a whole settlement, in consequence of a few screeches of owls. An early and correct use of this imitative faculty was considered as an indication that its possessor would become, in due time, a good hunter and valiant warrior. Throwing the tomahawk was another boyish sport, in which many acquired considerable skill. The tomahawk, with its handle of a certain length, will make a given number of turns in a given distance. Say in five steps, it will strike with the edge, the handle downward; at the distance of seven and a half, it will strike with the edge, the handle upward, and so on. A little experience enabled the boy to measure the distance with his eye, when walking through the woods, and strike a tree with his tomahawk in any way he chose.
"The athletic sports of running, jumping, and wrestling, were the pastimes of boys, in common with the men.
"A well-grown boy, at the age of twelve or thirteen years, was furnished with a small rifle and shot-pouch. He then became a fort-soldier, and had his port hole assigned him. Hunting squirrels, turkeys, and raccoons, soon made him expert in the use of his gun.
"Dancing was the principal amusement of our young people of both sexes. Their dances, to be sure, were of the simplest form. Three and four-handed reels and jigs. Country dances, cotillions, and minuets, were unknown. I remember to have seen, once or twice, a dance which was called 'The Irish Trot,' but I have long since forgotten its figure."
"Shooting at marks was a common diversion among the men, when their stock of ammunition would allow it; this, however, was far from being always the case. The present mode of shooting off-hand was not then in practice. This mode was not considered as any trial of the value of a gun, nor indeed, as much of a test of the skill of a marksman. Their shooting was from a rest, and at as great a distance as the length and weight of the barrel of the gun would throw a ball on a horizontal level. Such was their regard to accuracy, in those sportive trials of their rifles, and of their own skill in the use of them, that they often put moss, or some other soft substance on the log or stump from which they shot, for fear of having the bullet thrown from the mark, by the spring of the barrel. When the rifle was held to the side of a tree for a rest, it was pressed against it as lightly as possible, for the same reason.
"Rifles of former times were different from those of modern date; few of them carried more than forty five bullets to the pound. Bullets of a less size were not thought sufficiently heavy for hunting or war."
Our readers will pardon the length of these extracts from Doddridge, as they convey accurate pictures of many scenes of Western life in the times of Daniel Boone. We add to them a single extract from "Ramsay's Annals of Tennessee." The early settlement of that State took place about the same time with that of Kentucky, and was made by emigrants from the same region. The following remarks are therefore perfectly applicable to the pioneers of Kentucky.
"The settlement of Tennessee was unlike that of the present new country of the United States. Emigrants from the Atlantic cities, and from most points in the Western interior, now embark upon steamboats or other craft, and carrying with them all the conveniences and comforts of civilized life—indeed, many of its luxuries—are, in a few days, without toil, danger, or exposure, transported to their new abodes, and in a few months are surrounded with the appendages of home, of civilization, and the blessings of law and of society. The wilds of Minnesota and Nebraska by the agency of steam, or the stalwart arms of Western boatmen, are at once transformed into the settlements of a commercial and civilized people. Independence and St. Paul, six months after they are laid off, have their stores and their workshops, their artisans, and their mechanics. The mantua-maker and the tailor arrive in the same boat with the carpenter and mason. The professional man and the printer quickly follow. In the succeeding year the piano, the drawing-room, the restaurant, the billiard-table, the church bell, the village and the city in miniature, are all found, while the neighboring interior is yet a wilderness and a desert. The town and comfort, taste and urbanity are first; the clearing, the farm-house, the wagon-road and the improved country, second. It was far different on the frontier in Tennessee. At first a single Indian trail was the only entrance to the eastern border of it and for many years admitted only of the hunter and the pack-horse It was not till the year 1776 that a wagon was seen in Tennessee. In consequence of the want of roads—as well as of the great distance from sources of supply—the first inhabitants were without tools, and, of course, without mechanics—much more, without the conveniences of living and the comforts of house-keeping. Luxuries were absolutely unknown. Salt was brought on pack-horses from Augusta and Richmond, and readily commanded ten dollars a bushel. The salt gourd, in every cabin, was considered as a treasure. The sugar-maple furnished the only article of luxury on the frontier; coffee and tea being unknown, or beyond the reach of the settlers, sugar was seldom made, and was only used for the sick, or in the preparation of a sweetened dram at a wedding, or the arrival of a new-comer. The appendages of the kitchen, the cupboard, and the table were scanty and simple.
"Iron was brought, at great expense, from the forges east of the mountain, on pack-horses, and was sold at an enormous price. Its use was, for this reason, confined to the construction and repair of plows and other farming utensils. Hinges, nails, and fastenings of that material, were seldom seen.
"The costume of the first settlers corresponded well with the style of their buildings and the quality of their furniture. The hunting-shirt of the militiaman and the hunter was in general use. The rest of their apparel was in keeping with it—plain, substantial, and well adapted for comfort, use, and economy. The apparel of the pioneer's family was all home-made, and in a whole neighborhood there would not be seen, at the first settlement of the country, a single article of dress of foreign growth or manufacture. Half the year, in many families, shoes were not worn. Boots, a fur hat, and a coat with buttons on each side, attracted the gaze of the beholder, and sometimes received censure and rebuke. A stranger from the old States chose to doff his ruffles, his broadcloth, and his queue, rather than endure the scoff and ridicule of the backwoodsmen."
The dwelling-house, on every frontier in Tennessee, was the log-cabin. A carpenter and a mason were not needed to build them—much less the painter, the glazier, or the upholsterer. Every settler had, besides his rifle, no other instrument but an axe, a hatchet, and a butcher-knife. A saw, an auger, a froe, and a broad-axe would supply a whole settlement, and were used as common property in the erection of the log-cabin. The floor of the cabin was sometimes the earth. No saw-mill was yet erected; and, if the means or leisure of the occupant authorized it, he split out puncheons for the floor and for the shutter of the entrance to his cabin. The door was hung with wooden hinges and fastened by a wooden latch.
"Such was the habitation of the pioneer Tennessean. Scarcely can one of these structures, venerable for their years and the associations which cluster around them, be now seen, in Tennessee. Time and improvement have displaced them. Here and there in the older counties, may yet be seen the old log house, which sixty years ago sheltered the first emigrant, or gave, for the time, protection to a neighborhood, assembled within its strong and bullet-proof walls. Such an one is the east end of Mr. Martin's house, at Campbell's Station, and the centre part of the mansion of this writer, at Mecklenburg, once Gilliam's Station, changed somewhat, it is true, in some of its aspects, but preserving even yet, in the height of the story and in its old-fashioned and capacious fire-place, some of the features of primitive architecture on the frontier. Such, too, is the present dwelling-house of Mr. Tipton, on Ellejoy, in Blount County, and that of Mr. Glasgow Snoddy, in Sevier County. But these old buildings are becoming exceedingly rare, and soon not one of them will be seen. Their unsightly proportions and rude architecture will not much longer offend modern taste, nor provoke the idle and irreverent sneer of the fastidious and the fashionable. When the last one of these pioneer houses shall have fallen into decay and ruins, the memory of their first occupants will still be immortal and indestructible.
"The interior of the cabin was no less unpretending and simple. The whole furniture, of the one apartment—answering in these primitive times the purposes of the kitchen, the dining-room, the nursery and the dormitory—were a plain home-made bedstead or two, some split-bottomed chairs and stools; a large puncheon, supported on four legs, used, as occasion required, for a bench or a table, a water shelf and a bucket; a spinning-wheel, and sometimes a loom, finished the catalogue. The wardrobe of the family was equally plain and simple. The walls of the house were hung round with the dresses of the females, the hunting-shirts, clothes, and the arms and shot-pouches of the men.
"The labor and employment of a pioneer family were distributed in accordance with surrounding circumstances. To the men was assigned the duty of procuring subsistence and materials for clothing, erecting the cabin and the station, opening and cultivating the farm, hunting the wild beasts, and repelling and pursuing the Indians. The women spun the flax, the cotton and wool, wove the cloth, made them up, milked, churned, and prepared the food, and did their full share of the duties of house-keeping. Another thus describes them: 'There we behold woman in her true glory; not a doll to carry silks and jewels; not a puppet to be dandled by fops, an idol of profane adoration, reverenced to-day, discarded to-morrow; admired, but not respected; desired, but not esteemed; ruling by passion, not affection; imparting her weakness, not her constancy, to the sex she should exalt; the source and mirror of vanity. We see her as a wife, partaking of the cares, and guiding the labors of her husband, and by her domestic diligence spreading cheerfulness all around; for his sake, sharing the decent refinements of the world, without being fond of them; placing all her joy, all her happiness, in the merited approbation of the man she loves. As a mother, we find her the affectionate, the ardent instructress of the children she has reared from infancy, and trained them up to thought and virtue, to meditation and benevolence; addressing them as rational beings, and preparing them to become men and women in their turn.
"'Could there be happiness or comfort in such dwellings and such a state of society? To those who are accustomed to modern refinements, the truth appears like fable. The early occupants of log-cabins were among the most happy of mankind. Exercise and excitement gave them health; they were practically equal; common danger made them mutually dependant; brilliant hopes of future wealth and distinction led them on; and as there was ample room for all, and as each new-comer increased individual and general security, there was little room for that envy, jealousy, and hatred which constitute a large portion of human misery in older societies. Never were the story, the joke, the song, and the laugh better enjoyed than upon the hewed blocks, or puncheon stools, around the roaring log fire of the early Western settler. The lyre of Apollo was not hailed with more delight in primitive Greece than the advent of the first fiddler among the dwellers of the wilderness; and the polished daughters of the East never enjoyed themselves half so well, moving to the music of a full band, upon the elastic floor of their ornamented ball-room, as did the daughters of the emigrants, keeping time to a self-taught fiddler, on the bare earth or puncheon floor of the primitive log-cabin. The smile of the polished beauty is the wave of the lake, where the breeze plays gently over it, and her movement is the gentle stream which drains it; but the laugh of the log-cabin is the gush of nature's fountain, and its movement, its leaping water.'"
"On the frontier the diet was necessarily plain and homely, but exceedingly abundant and nutritive. The Goshen of America furnished the richest milk, the finest butter, and the most savory and delicious meats. In their rude cabins, with their scanty and inartificial furniture, no people ever enjoyed in wholesome food a greater variety, or a superior quality of the necessaries of life. For bread, the Indian corn was exclusively used. It was not till 1790 that the settlers on the rich bottoms of Cumberland and Nollichucky discovered the remarkable adaptation of the soil and climate of Tennessee to the production of this grain. Emigrants from James River, the Catawba, and the Santee, were surprised at the amount and quality of the corn crops, surpassing greatly the best results of agricultural labor and care in the Atlantic States. This superiority still exists, and Tennessee, by the census of 1850, was the corn State. Of all the farinacea, corn is best adapted to the condition of a pioneer people; and if idolatry is at all justifiable, Ceres, or certainly the Goddess of Indian corn, should have had a temple and a worshipers among the pioneers of Tennessee. Without that grain, the frontier settlements could not have been formed and maintained. It is the most certain crop—requires the least preparation of the ground—is most congenial to a virgin soil—needs not only the least amount of labor in its culture, but comes to maturity in the shortest time. The pith of the matured stalk of the corn is esculent and nutritious; and the stalk itself, compressed between rollers, furnishes what is known as corn-stalk molasses."
"This grain requires, also, the least care and trouble in preserving it. It may safely stand all winter upon the stalk without injury from the weather or apprehension of damage by disease, or the accidents to which other grains are subject. Neither smut nor rust, nor weavil nor snow-storm, will hurt it. After its maturity, it is also prepared for use or the granary with little labor. The husking is a short process, and is even advantageously delayed till the moment arrives for using the corn. The machinery for converting it into food is also exceedingly simple and cheap. As soon as the ear is fully formed, it may be roasted or boiled, and forms thus an excellent and nourishing diet. At a later period it may be grated, and furnishes, in this form, the sweetest bread. The grains boiled in a variety of modes, either whole or broken in a mortar, or roasted in the ashes, or popped in an oven, are well relished. If the grain is to be converted into meal, a simple tub-mill answers the purpose best, as the meal least perfectly ground is always preferred. A bolting-cloth is not needed, as it diminishes the sweetness and value of the flour. The catalogue of the advantages of this meal might be extended further. Boiled in water, it forms the frontier dish called mush, which was eaten with milk, with honey, molasses, butter or gravy. Mixed with cold water, it is, at once, ready for the cook; covered with hot ashes, the preparation is called the ash cake; placed upon a piece of clapboard, and set near the coals, it forms the journey-cake; or managed in the same way, upon a helveless hoe, it forms the hoe-cake; put in an oven, and covered over with a heated lid, it is called, if in a large mass, a pone or loaf; if in smaller quantities, dodgers. It has the further advantage, over all other flour, that it requires in its preparation few culinary utensils, and neither sugar, yeast, eggs, spices, soda, potash, or other et ceteras, to qualify or perfect the bread. To all this, it may be added, that it is not only cheap and well tasted, but it is unquestionably the most wholesome and nutritive food. The largest and healthiest people in the world have lived upon it exclusively. It formed the principal bread of that robust race of men—giants in miniature—which, half a century since, was seen on the frontier.
"The dignity of history is not lowered by this enumeration of the pre-eminent qualities of Indian corn. The rifle and the axe have had their influence in subduing the wilderness to the purposes of civilization, and they deserve their eulogists and trumpeters. Let paeans be sung all over the mighty West to Indian corn—without it, the West would have still been a wilderness. Was the frontier suddenly invaded? Without commissary or quartermaster, or other sources of supply, each soldier parched a peck of corn; a portion of it was put into his pockets, the remainder in his wallet, and, throwing it upon his saddle, with his rifle on his shoulder, he was ready, in half an hour, for the campaign. Did a flood of emigration inundate the frontier with an amount of consumers disproportioned to the supply of grain? The facility of raising the Indian corn, and its early maturity, gave promise and guaranty that the scarcity would be temporary and tolerable. Did the safety of the frontier demand the services of every adult militiaman? The boys and women could, themselves, raise corn and furnish ample supplies of bread. The crop could be gathered next year. Did an autumnal intermittent confine the whole family or the entire population to the sick bed? This certain concomitant of the clearing, and cultivating the new soil, mercifully withholds its paroxysms till the crop of corn is made. It requires no further labor or care afterward. Paeans, say we, and a temple and worshipers, to the Creator of Indian corn. The frontier man could gratefully say: 'He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. Thou preparest a table before me in presence of mine enemies.'
"The sports of the frontier men were manly, athletic, or warlike—the chase, the bear hunt, the deer drive, shooting at the target, throwing the tomahawk, jumping, boxing and wrestling, foot and horse-racing. Playing marbles and pitching dollars, cards and backgammon, were little known, and were considered base or effeminate. The bugle, the violin, the fife and drum, furnished all the musical entertainments. These were much used and passionately admired. Weddings, military trainings, house-raisings, chopping frolics, were often followed with the fiddle, and dancing, and rural sports."
[Footnote 51: Kendall.]
[Footnote 52: Butler.]
Indian hostilities resumed—Expedition of Davis, Caffre and McClure—Murder of Elliot—Marshall's river adventure—Attack on Captain Ward's boat—Affair near Scaggs' Creek—Growth of Kentucky—Population—Trade—General Logan calls a meeting at Danville—Danger of the country from Indian hostilities, and necessity of defense considered—Convention called—Separation from Virginia proposed—Other conventions-Virginia consents—Kentucky admitted as an independent State of the Union—Indian hostilities—Expedition and death of Colonel Christian—Attack on Higgins' Fort—Expedition of General Clark—Its utter failure—Expedition of General Logan—Surprises and destroys a Shawanese town—Success of Captain Hardin—Defeat of Hargrove—Affairs in Bourbon County—Exploits of Simon Kenton—Affairs at the Elkhorn settlements—Treaty—Harman's expedition—Final pacification of the Indians after Wayne's victory.
Kentucky was not yet entirely freed from Indian hostilities. There was no formidable invasion, such as to call for the exertions of Boone, Kenton and the other warriors of the border, but there were several occurrences which occasioned considerable alarm.
In the spring of 1784, a number of families started down the Ohio from Louisville in two flat boats. They were pursued by Indians in canoes, but awed by the determined aspect of the whites, they drew off, without so much as a gun being fired on either side.
This same spring a party of southern Indians stole some horses from Lincoln County. Three young men, Davis, Caffre and McClure, pursued them, but failing to overtake them, concluded to make reprisals on the nearest Indian settlement. Not far from the Tennessee River, they fell in with an equal number of Indians. The two parties saluted each other in a very friendly manner, and agreed to journey in company. The whites, however, were by no means convinced of the sincerity of their companions, and, seeing them talking together very earnestly, became assured of their hostile intentions. It being determined to anticipate the Indians' attack; Caffre undertook to capture one of them, while his companions shot the other two. Accordingly he sprung upon the nearest Indian, and bore him to the ground; Davis's gun missed fire but McClure shot his man dead. The remaining Indian sprung to a tree from which shelter he shot Caffre, who was still struggling with the Indian he had grappled. He, in his turn was immediately shot by McClure. The Indian whom Caffre had attacked, extricated himself from the grasp of his dying antagonist, and seizing his rifle presented it at Davis, who was coming to the assistance of his friend. Davis took to flight, his rifle not being in good order, and was pursued by the Indian into the wood. McClure, loading his gun, followed them, but lost sight of both. Davis was never heard of afterward.
McClure now concluded to retreat, but he had not proceeded far, before he met an Indian on horseback attended by a boy on foot. The warrior dismounted, and seating himself on a log, offered his pipe to McClure. Soon other Indians were seen advancing in the distance, when McClure's sociable friend, informed him that when his companions came up, they would take him (McClure) and put him on a horse, tying his feet under its belly. In order to convey to his white brother an adequate idea of the honor intended him, the Indian got astride the log and locked his feet together. McClure took this opportunity of shooting his amiable but rather eccentric companion, and then ran off into the woods and escaped.
This affair the reader will bear in mind, was with southern Indians, not with those of the north-western tribes, from whom the Kentuckians had suffered most. The only demonstration of hostility made by these, this year, appears to have been the pursuit of the boats mentioned before. In March, 1785, a man of the name of Elliot, who had emigrated to the country near the mouth of the Kentucky River, was killed by Indians, and his house destroyed and family dispersed.
As Colonel Thomas Marshall from Virginia was descending the Ohio, in a flat boat, he was hailed from the northern shore by a man, who announced himself as James Girty, and said that he had been placed by his brother Simon, to warn all boats of the danger of being attacked by the Indians. He told them that efforts would be made to decoy them ashore by means of renegade white men, who would represent themselves as in great distress. He exhorted them to steel their hearts against all such appeals, and to keep the middle of the river. He said that his brother regretted the injuries he had inflicted upon the whites, and would gladly repair them as much as possible, to be re-admitted to their society, having lost all his influence among the Indians. This repentance on the part of Girty seems to have been of short duration, as he remained among the Indians till his death, which according to some took place at the battle of the Thames, though others deny it.
However sincere or lasting Girty's repentance had been, he could never have lived in safety among the whites; he had been too active, and if common accounts are to be credited, too savage in his hostility to them, to admit of forgiveness; and it is probable that a knowledge of this prevented him from abandoning the Indians.
"About the same time," says McClung, "Captain James Ward, at present a highly-respectable citizen of Mason County, Kentucky, was descending the Ohio, under circumstances which rendered a rencontre with the Indians peculiarly to be dreaded. He, together with half a dozen others, one of them his nephew, embarked in a crazy boat, about forty-five feet long, and eight feet wide, with no other bulwark than a single pine plank, above each gunnel. The boat was much encumbered with baggage, and seven horses were on board. Having seen no enemy for several days, they had become secure and careless, and permitted the boat to drift within fifty yards of the Ohio shore. Suddenly, several hundred Indians showed themselves on the bank, and running down boldly to the water's edge, opened a heavy fire upon the boat. The astonishment of the crew may be conceived."
Captain Ward and his nephew were at the oars when the enemy appeared, and the captain knowing that their safety depended upon their agility to regain the middle of the river, kept his seat firmly, and exerted his utmost powers at the oar, but his nephew started up at sight of the enemy, seized his rifle, and was in the act of leveling it, when he received a ball in the breast, and fell dead in the bottom of the boat. Unfortunately, his oar fell into the river, and the Captain, having no one to pull against him, rather urged the boat nearer to the hostile shore than otherwise. He quickly seized a plank, however, and giving his oar to another of the crew, he took the station which his nephew had held, and unhurt by the shower of bullets which flew around him, continued to exert himself until the boat had reached a more respectable distance. He then, for the first time, looked around him in order to observe the condition of the crew.
His nephew lay in his blood, perfectly lifeless; the horses had been all killed or mortally wounded. Some had fallen overboard; others were struggling violently, and causing their frail bark to dip water so abundantly as to excite the most serious apprehensions. But the crew presented the most singular spectacle. A captain, who had served with reputation in the continental army, seemed now totally bereft of his faculties. He lay upon his back in the bottom of the boat, with hands uplifted, and a countenance in which terror was personified, exclaiming in a tone of despair, "Oh Lord! Oh Lord." A Dutchman, whose weight might amount to about three hundred pounds, was anxiously engaged in endeavoring to find shelter for his bulky person, which, from the lowness of the gunnels, was a very difficult undertaking. In spite of his utmost efforts, a portion of his posterior luxuriance appeared above the gunnel, and afforded a mark to the enemy, which brought a constant shower of balls around it.
"In vain he shifted his position. The hump still appeared, and the balls still flew around it, until the Dutchman losing all patience, raised his head above the gunnel, and in a tone of querulous remonstrance, called out, 'Oh now! quit tat tamned nonsense, tere, will you!' Not a shot was fired from the boat. At one time, after they had partly regained the current, Captain Ward attempted to bring his rifle to bear upon them, but so violent was the agitation of the boat, from the furious struggles of the horses, that he could not steady his piece within twenty yards of the enemy, and quickly laying it aside, returned to the oar. The Indians followed them down the river for more than an hour, but having no canoes they did not attempt to board; and as the boat was at length transferred to the opposite side of the river, they at length abandoned the pursuit and disappeared. None of the crew, save the young man already mentioned, were hurt, although the Dutchman's seat of honor served as a target for the space of an hour; and the continental captain was deeply mortified at the sudden, and, as he said, 'unaccountable' panic which had seized him. Captain Ward himself was protected by a post, which had been fastened to the gunnel, and behind which he sat while rowing."
"In October, a party of emigrants were attacked near Scagg's Creek, and six killed. Mrs. McClure, with four children, ran into the woods, where she might have remained concealed, if it had not been for the cries of her infant, whom she could not make up her mind to abandon. The Indians guided to her hiding-place by these cries, cruelly tomahawked the three oldest children, but made her prisoner with her remaining child. Captain Whitley, with twenty-one men, intercepted the party on its return, and dispersed them, killing two, and wounding the same number. The prisoners were rescued. A few days after, another party of emigrants were attacked, and nine of them killed. Captain Whitley again pursued the Indians. On coming up with them, they took to flight. Three were killed in the course of the pursuit; two by the gallant Captain himself. Some other depredations were committed this year, but none of as much importance as those we have mentioned."
These acts of hostility on the part of the Indians led to the adoption of measures for the defense of the Colony, to which we shall presently call the reader's attention.
"Although," says Perkins, "Kentucky grew rapidly during the year 1784, the emigrants numbering twelve, and the whole population thirty thousand; although a friendly meeting was held by Thomas J. Dalton, with the Piankeshaws, at Vincennes, in April; and though trade was extending itself into the clearings and among the canebrakes—Daniel Brodhead having opened his store at Louisville the previous year, and James Wilkinson having come to Lexington in February, as the leader of a large commercial company, formed in Philadelphia, still the cool and sagacious mind of Logan led him to prepare his fellow-citizens for trial and hardships. He called, in the autumn of 1784, a meeting of the people at Danville, to take measures for defending the country, and at this meeting the whole subject of the position and danger of Kentucky was examined and discussed, and it was agreed that a convention should meet in December to adopt some measures for the security of the settlements in the wilderness. Upon the 27th of that month it met, nor was it long before the idea became prominent that Kentucky must ask to be severed from Virginia, and left to her own guidance and control. But as no such conception was general, when the delegates to this first convention were chosen, they deemed it best to appoint a second, to meet during the next May, at which was specially to be considered the topic most interesting to those who were called on to think and vote—a complete separation from the parent State—political independence."
Several other conventions took place, in which the subject of a separation from Virginia was considered. In 1786 the Legislature of Virginia enacted the necessary preliminary provisions for the separation and erection of Kentucky into an independent State, with the condition that Congress should receive it into the Union, which was finally effected in the year 1792.
Previously to this event, Indian hostilities were again renewed.
"A number of Indians in April, 1786, stole some horses from the Bear Grass settlement, with which they crossed the Ohio. Colonel Christian pursued them into the Indian country, and, coming up with them, destroyed the whole party. How many there were is not stated. The whites lost two men, one of whom was the Colonel himself whose death was a severe loss to Kentucky. The following affair, which took place the same year, is given in the language of one who participated in it:
"'After the battle of the Blue Licks, and in 1786 our family removed to Higgins' block-house on Licking River, one and a half miles above Cynthiana. Between those periods my father had been shot by the Indians, and my mother married Samuel Van Hook, who had been one of the party engaged in the defense at Ruddell's Station in 1780, and on its surrender was carried with the rest of the prisoners to Detroit.
"'Higgins' Fort, or block-house, had been built at the bank of the Licking, on precipitous rocks, at least thirty feet high, which served to protect us on every side but one. On the morning of the 12th of June, at daylight, the fort, which consisted of six or seven houses, was attacked by a party of Indians, fifteen or twenty in number. There was a cabin outside, below the fort, where William McCombs resided, although absent at that time. His son Andrew, and a man hired in the family, named Joseph McFall, on making their appearance at the door to wash themselves, were both shot down—McCombs through the knee, and McFall in the pit of the stomach. McFall ran to the block-house, and McCombs fell, unable to support himself longer, just after opening the door of his cabin, and was dragged in by his sisters, who barricaded the door instantly. On the level and only accessible side there was a corn-field, and the season being favorable, and the soil rich as well as new, the corn was more than breast high. Here the main body of the Indians lay concealed, while three or four who made the attack attempted thereby to decoy the whites outside of the defenses. Failing in this, they set fire to an old fence and corn-crib, and two stables, both long enough built to be thoroughly combustible. These had previously protected their approach in that direction. Captain Asa Reese was in command of our little fort. 'Boys,' said he, 'some of you must run over to Hinkston's or Harrison's.' These were one and a half and two miles off, but in different directions. Every man declined. I objected, alleging as my reason that he would give up the fort before I could bring relief; but on his assurance that he would hold out, I agreed to go. I jumped off the bank through the thicket of trees, which broke my fall, while they scratched my face and limbs. I got to the ground with a limb clenched in my hands, which I had grasped unawares in getting through. I recovered from the jar in less than a minute, crossed the Licking, and ran up a cow-path on the opposite side, which the cows from one of those forts had beat down in their visits for water. As soon as I had gained the bank I shouted to assure my friends of my safety, and to discourage the enemy. In less than an hour I was back, with a relief of ten horsemen, well armed, and driving in full chase after the Indians. But they had decamped immediately upon hearing my signal, well knowing what it meant, and it was deemed imprudent to pursue them with so weak a party—the whole force in Higgins' block-house hardly sufficing to guard the women and children there. McFall, from whom the bullet could not be extracted, lingered two days and nights in great pain, when he died, as did McCombs, on the ninth day, mortification then taking place.'
"While these depredations were going on, most of the Northwestern tribes were ostensibly at peace with the country, treaties having recently been made. But the Kentuckians, exasperated by the repeated outrages, determined to have resort to their favorite expedient of invading the Indian country. How far they were justified in holding the tribes responsible for the actions of these roving plunderers, the reader must judge for himself. We may remark, however, that it does not seem distinctly proved that the Indians engaged in these attacks belonged to any of the tribes against whom the attack was to be made. But the backwoodsmen were never very scrupulous in such matters. They generally regarded the Indian race as a unit: an offense committed by one warrior might be lawfully punished on another. We often, in reading the history of the West, read of persons who, having lost relations by Indians of one tribe, made a practice of killing all whom they met, whether in peace or war. It is evident, as Marshall says, that no authority but that of Congress could render an expedition of this kind lawful. The Governor of Virginia had given instructions to the commanders of the counties to take the necessary means for defense; and the Kentuckians, giving a free interpretation to these instructions, decided that the expedition was necessary and resolved to undertake it.
"General Clark was selected to command it, and to the standard of this favorite officer volunteers eagerly thronged. A thousand men were collected at the Falls of the Ohio, from whence the troops marched by land to St. Vincennes, while the provisions and other supplies were conveyed by water. The troops soon became discouraged. When the provisions reached Vincennes, after a delay of several days on account of the low water, it was found that a large proportion of them were spoiled. In consequence of this, the men were placed upon short allowance, with which, of course, they were not well pleased. In the delay in waiting for the boats, much of the enthusiasm of the men had evaporated; and it is said by some that General Clark dispatched a messenger to the towns, in advance of the troops, to offer them the choice of peace or war, which greatly lessened the chances of the success of the expedition. Though this measure would be only complying with the requirements of good faith, it is very doubtful if it was adopted, so utterly at variance would it be with the usual manner of conducting these expeditions.
"At any rate, when the army arrived within two days' march of the Indian towns, no less than three hundred of the men refused to proceed, nor could all the appeals of Clark induce them to alter their determination. They marched off in a body; and so discouraged were the others by this desertion, and the unfavorable circumstances in which they were placed, that a council held the evening after their departure concluded to relinquish the undertaking."
The whole of the troops returned to Kentucky in a very disorderly manner. Thus did this expedition, begun under the most favorable auspices—for the commander's reputation was greater than any other in the West, and the men were the elite of Kentucky—altogether fail of its object, the men not having even seen the enemy. Marshall, in accounting for this unexpected termination, says that Clark was no longer the man he had been; that he had injured his intellect by the use of spirituous liquors. Colonel Logan had at first accompanied Clark, but he soon returned to Kentucky to organize another expedition; that might, while the attention of the Indians was altogether engrossed by the advance of Clark, fall upon some unguarded point. He raised the requisite number of troops without difficulty, and by a rapid march completely surprised one of the Shawanee towns, which he destroyed, killing several of the warriors, and bringing away a number of prisoners. In regard to the results of the measures adopted by the Kentuckians, we quote from Marshall:
"In October of this year, a large number of families traveling by land to Kentucky, known by the name of McNitt's company, were surprised in camp, at night, by a party of Indians, between Big and Little Laurel River, and totally defeated, with the loss of twenty-one persons killed; the rest dispersed, or taken prisoners.
"About the same time, Captain Hardin, from the south-western part of the district, with a party of men, made an excursion into the Indian country, surrounding the Saline; he fell in with a camp of Indians whom he attacked and defeated, killing four of them, without loss on his part.
"Some time in December, Hargrove and others were defeated at the mouth of Buck Creek, on the Cumberland River. The Indians attacked in the night, killed one man, and wounded Hargrove; who directly became engaged in a rencontre with an Indian, armed with his tomahawk; of this he was disarmed, but escaped, leaving the weapon with Hargrove, who bore it off, glad to extricate himself. In this year also, Benjamin Price was killed near the three forks of Kentucky.
"Thus ended, in a full renewal of the war, the year whose beginning had happily witnessed the completion of the treaties of peace.
"By this time, one thing must have been obvious to those who had attended to the course of events—and that was, that if the Indians came into the country, whether for peace or war, hostilities were inevitable."
'If the white people went into their country, the same consequences followed. The parties were yet highly exasperated against each other; they had not cooled since the peace, if peace it could be called; and meet where they would, bloodshed was the result.'
"Whether the Indians to the north and west had ascertained, or not, that the two expeditions of this year were with or without the consent of Congress, they could but think the treaties vain things; and either made by those who had no right to make them, or no power to enforce them. With Kentuckians, it was known that the latter was the fact. To the Indians, the consequence was the same. They knew to a certainty, that the British had not surrendered the posts on the lakes—that it was from them they received their supplies; that they had been deceived, as to the United States getting the posts, and they were easily persuaded to believe, that these posts would not be transferred; and that in truth, the British, not the United States, had been the conquerors in the late war."
"Such were the reflections which the state of facts would have justified, and at the same time have disposed them for war. The invasion of their country by two powerful armies from Kentucky, could leave no doubt of a disposition equally hostile on her part Congress, utterly destitute of the means for enforcing the treaties, either on the one side or the other, stood aloof, ruminating on the inexhaustible abundance of her own want of resources—and the abuse of herself for not possessing them."
After this year, we hear of but few independent expeditions from Kentucky. Their militia were often called out to operate with the United States troops, and in Wayne's campaign were of much service; but this belongs to the general history of the United States. All that we have to relate of Kentucky now, is a series of predatory attacks by the Indians, varied occasionally by a spirited reprisal by a small party of whites. It is estimated that fifteen hundred persons were either killed or made prisoners in Kentucky after the year 1783.
"On the night of the 11th of April, 1787," says McClung, "the house of a widow, in Bourbon County, became the scene of an adventure which we think deserves to be related. She occupied what is generally called a double cabin, in a lonely part of the country, one room of which was tenanted by the old lady herself, together with two grown sons, and a widowed daughter, at that time suckling an infant, while the other was occupied by two unmarried daughters, from sixteen to twenty years of age, together with a little girl not more than half grown. The hour was eleven o'clock at night. One of the unmarried daughters was still busily engaged at the loom, but the other members of the family, with the exception of one of the sons, had retired to rest. Some symptoms of an alarming nature had engaged the attention of the young man for an hour before any thing of a decided character took place.
"The cry of owls was heard in the adjoining wood, answering each other in rather an unusual manner. The horses, which were enclosed as usual in a pound near the house, were more than commonly excited and by repeated snorting and galloping, announced the presence of some object of terror. The young man was often upon the point of awakening his brother, but was as often restrained by the fear of incurring ridicule and the reproach of timidity, at that time an unpardonable blemish in the character of a Kentuckian. At length hasty steps were heard in the yard, and quickly afterward, several loud knocks at the door, accompanied by the usual exclamation, 'Who keeps house?' in very good English. The young man, supposing from the language that some benighted settlers were at the door, hastily arose, and was advancing to withdraw the bar which secured it, when his mother, who had long lived upon the frontiers, and had probably detected the Indian tone in the demand for admission, instantly sprung out of bed, and ordered her son not to admit them, declaring that they were Indians.
"She instantly awakened her other son, and the two young men seized their guns, which were always charged, prepared to repel the enemy. The Indians, finding it impossible to enter under their assumed characters, began to thunder at the door with great violence, but a single shot from a loop-hole compelled them to shift the attack to some less exposed point and, unfortunately, they discovered the door of the other cabin, containing the three daughters. The rifles of the brothers could not be brought to bear upon this point, and by means of several rails taken from the yard fence, the door was forced from its hinges, and the three girls were at the mercy of the savages. One was instantly secured, but the eldest defended herself desperately with a knife which she had been using at the loom, and stabbed one of the Indians to the heart before she was tomahawked.
"In the mean time the little girl, who had been overlooked by the enemy in their eagerness to secure the others, ran out into the yard, and might have effected her escape, had she taken advantage of the darkness and fled; but instead of that, the terrified little creature ran around the house wringing her hands, and crying out that her sisters were killed. The brothers, unable to hear her cries without risking every thing for her rescue, rushed to the door and were preparing to sally out to her assistance, when their mother threw herself before them and calmly declared that the child must be abandoned to its fate; that the sally would sacrifice the lives of all the rest, without the slightest benefit to the little girl. Just then the child uttered a loud scream, followed by a few faint moans, and all was again silent. Presently the crackling of flames was heard, accompanied by a triumphant yell from the Indians, announcing that they had set fire to that division of the house which had been occupied by the daughters, and of which they held undisputed possession.