Chronicles of Border Warfare
The treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain which terminated so gloriously the war of the revolution, did not put a period to Indian hostilities. The aid which had been extended to the savages, and which enabled them so successfully to gratify their implacable resentment against the borer country, being withdrawn, they were less able to cope with the whites than they had been, and were less a hindrance to the population and improvement of those sections of country which had been the theatre of their many outrages. In North Western Virginia, indeed, although the war continued to be waged against its inhabitants, yet it assumed a different aspect. It became a war rather of plunder, than of blood; and although the predatory incursions of the Indians, individuals some times fell a sacrifice to savage passion; yet this was of such rare occurrence, that the chronicles of those days are divested of much of the interest, which attaches to a detail of Indian hostilities. For several years, scarce an incident occurred worthy of being rescued from oblivion.
In Kentucky it was far otherwise. The war continued to be prosecuted there, with the wonted vigor of the savages.—The General Assembly of Virginia having, at the close of the revolution, passed an act for surveying the land set apart for her officers and soldiers, south of Green river, the surveyors descended to the Ohio, to explore the country and perform the duties assigned them. On their arrival they found it occupied by the savages, and acts of hostilities immediately ensued. In December 1783, the Legislature likewise passed an act, appropriating the country between the Scioto and Miami rivers, for the purpose of satisfying the claims of the officers and soldiers, if the land previously allotted, in Kentucky, should prove insufficient for that object. This led to a confederacy of the many tribes of Indians, interested in these sections of country, and produced such feelings and gave rise to such acts of hostility on their part, as induced Benjamin Harrison the Governor of Virginia, in November 1784, to recommend the postponement of the surveys; and in January 1785, a proclamation was issued by Patrick Henry, (successor of Gov. Harrison) commanding the surveyors to desist and leave the country. A treaty was soon after concluded, by which the country on the Scioto, Miami and Muskingum, was ceded to the United States. In this interval of time, North Western Virginia enjoyed almost uninterrupted repose. There was indeed an alarm of Indians, on Simpson’s creek in 1783, but it soon subsided; and the circumstance which gave rise to it (the discharge of a gun at Major Owen) was generally attributed to a white man.
In 1784, the settlement towards the head of West Fork, suffered somewhat from savage invasion. A party of Indians came to the house of Henry Flesher, (where the town of Weston now is) and fired at the old gentleman, as he was returning from the labors of the field. The gun discharged at him, had been loaded with two balls, and both taking effect, crippled his arm a good deal. Two savages immediately ran towards him; and he, towards the door; and just as he was in the act of entering it, one of them had approached so closely as to strike at him with the butt end of his gun. The breech came first in contact with the facing of the door, and descending on his head, seemed to throw him forward into the house, and his wife closing the door, no attempt was made by the savages to force it open. Still however, they did not feel secure; and as soon as they became assured that the savages were withdrawn, they left the house and sought security elsewhere. Most of the family lay in the woods during the night,--one young woman succeeded in finding the way to Hacker’s creek, from whence Thomas Hughes immediately departed to find the others. This was affected early next morning, and all were safely escorted to the settlement.
The foregoing event happened in September, and in a few days after as David Radcliff was proceeding to the Brushy Fork of Elk creek on a hunting expedition, he was shot, (probably by the Indians who had been at Fleshers,) tomahawked and scalped in a shocking manner.
In 1785, six Indians came to Bingamon creek (a branch of the West Fork) and made their appearance upon a farm occupied by Thomas and Edward Cunningham. At this time the two brothers were dwelling with their families in separate houses, but nearly adjoining, though not in a direct line with each other. Thomas was then on a trading visit east of the mountain, and his wife and four children were collected in their room for the purpose of eating dinner, as was Edward with his family, in their house. Suddenly a lusty savage entered where Mrs. Thomas Cunningham and her children, but seeing that he would be exposed to fire from the other house, and apprehending no danger from the woman and children, he closed the door and seemed for a time only intent on the means of escaping.
Edward Cunningham had seen the savage enter his brother’s house, and fastened his own door, seized his gun and stepping to a small aperture in the wall next to the house in which was the Indian, and which served as well for a porthole as for the admission of light, was ready to fire whenever the savage should make his appearance. But in the other house was a like aperture, and through it the Indian fired at Edward, and shouted the yell of victory. It was answered by Edward. He had seen the aim of the savage only in time to avoid it,--the bark from the log close to his head, was knocked off by the ball and flew into his face. The Indian seeing that he had missed his object, and observing an adze in the room, deliberately commenced cutting an aperture in the back wall through which he might pass out without being exposed to a shot from the other building.
Another of the Indians came into the yard just after the firing of his companion, but observing Edward’s gun pointing through the port hole, he endeavored to retreat out of its range. He failed of his purpose. Just as he was about to spring over the fence, the gun was fired and he fell forward. The ball however only fractured his thigh bone, and he was yet able to hobble over the fence and take shelter behind a coverlet suspended on it, before Edward could again load his gun.
While the Indian was engaged in cutting a hole in the wall, Mrs. Cunningham made no attempt to et out. She was well aware that it would draw down upon her head the fury of the savage; and that if she escaped this, she would most probably be killed by some of those who were watching around. Before the other door could be opened for her admission—She knew too, that it was impossible for her to take the children with her, and could not brook the idea of leaving them in the hands of the savage monster. She even trusted to the hope that he would withdraw, as soon as he could, without molesting any of them. A few minutes served to convince her of the fallacy of this expectation. When the opening had been made sufficiently large, he raised his tomahawk, sunk it deep into the brains of one of the children, and throwing the scarcely lifeless body into he back yard, ordered the mother to follow after. There was no alternative but death, and she obeyed his order, stepping over the dead body of one of her children, with an infant in her arms and two others screaming from horror at the sight, and clinging to her. When all were out he scalped the murdered boy, and setting fire to the house, retired to an eminence in the field, where two of the savages were, with their wounded companion.—leaving the other two to watch the opening of Edward Cunningham’s door when the burning of the house should force the family from their shelter. They were disappointed in their expectation of that event by the exertions of Cunningham and his son. When the flame from the one house communicated to the roof of the other, they ascended to the loft, threw off the loose boards which covered it, and extinguished the fire;--the savages shooting at them all the while and their balls frequently striking close by.
Despairing of accomplishing farther havoc, and fearful of detection and pursuit, the Indians collected together and prepared to retreat. Mrs. Cunningham’s eldest son was first tomahawked and scalped; the fatal hatchet sunk into the head of her little daughter, whom they then took by the arms and legs, slinging it repeatedly against a tree, ended its sufferings with its life. Mrs. Cunningham stood motionless with grief, and in momentary expectation of having the same dealt to her and her innocent infant. But no! She was doomed to captivity; and with her helpless babe in her arms, was led off from the scene of horror and of woe. The wounded savage was carried on a rough litter, and they all departed, crossing the ridge to Bingamon creek, near which they found a cave that afforded them shelter and concealment. After night, they returned to Edward Cunningham’s and finding no one, plundered and fired the house.
When the savages withdrew in the evening, Cunningham went with his family into the woods, where they remained all night, there being no settlement nearer than eight or ten miles. In the morning, proceeding to the nearest house, they gave the alarm and a company of men was soon collected to go in pursuit of the Indians. When they came to Cunningham’s and found both houses heaps of ashes, they buried the bones which remained of the boy who was murdered in the house, with the bodies of his brother and little sister, who were killed in the field; but so cautiously had the savages conducted their retreat that no traces of them could be discovered, and the men returned to their homes.
Some days after, circumstances induced the belief that the Indians were yet in the neighborhood, and men were again assembled for the purpose of tracing them. They were now enabled to distinguish the trail, and pursued it near to the cave, where from the number of rocks on the ground and the care which had been taken by the Indians to leave no vestige, they could no longer discover it. They however examined for it in every direction until night forced them to desist. In thinking over the incidents of the day; the cave occurred to the mind of Major Robinson, who was well acquainted with the woods, and he concluded that the savages, must be concealed in it. It was examined early next morning, but they had left it the preceding night and departed for their towns. After her return from captivity, Mrs. Cunningham stated, that in time of the search on the day before, the Indians were in the cave, and that several times the whites approached so near, that she could distinctly hear their voices; the savages standing with their guns ready to fire, in the event of their being discovered, and forcing her to keep the infant to her breast, lest its crying might point to the place of their concealment.
In consequence of their stay at this place on account of their wounded companion, it was some time before they arrived in their own country; and Mrs. Cunningham’s sufferings of body as well as mind were truly great. Fatigue and hunger oppressed her sorely,--the infant in her arms, wanting the nourishment derived from the due sustenance of the mother, plied at the breast for milk in vain—blood came instead; and the Indians perceiving this, put a period to its sufferings, with the tomahawk, even while clinging to its mother’s bosom. It was cast to a little distance from the path, and left without a leaf or bush to hide it from beasts of prey.
The anguish of this woman during the journey to the towns, can only be properly estimated by a parent; for bodily suffering may be inferred from the fact, that for ten days her only sustenance consisted of the head of a wild turkey and three papaws, from the circumstance that the skin and nails of her feet, scaled by frequent wading in the water came with her stockings, when upon their arrival at a village of the Delawares, she was permitted to draw them off. Yet was she forced to continue on with them the next day.—One of the Indians belonging to the village where they were, by an application of some sanative herbs, very much relieved the pain which she endured.
When she came tot he town of those by whom she had been made prisoner, although receiving no barbarous or cruel usage, yet every thing indicated to her, that she was reserved for some painful torture. The wounded Indian had been left behind, and she was delivered to his father. Her clothes were not changed, as is the case when a prisoner is adopted by them; but she was compelled to wear them, dirty as they were,-- a bad omen for a captive. She was however, not long in apprehension of a wretched fate. A conference was soon to take place between the Indians and whites, preparatory to a treaty of peace; and witnessing an uncommon excitement in the village one evening, upon inquiring , learned that the great captain Simon Girty had arrived. She determined to prevail with him, if she could, to intercede for her liberation, and seeing him next day passing near on horseback, she laid hold on his stirrup, and implored his interference. For a while he made light of her petition,--telling her that she would be as well there as in her own country, and that if he were disposed to do her a kindness he could not as his saddle bags were too small to conceal her; but her importunity at length prevailed, and he whose heart had been so long steeled against every kindly feeling, every sympathetic impression, was at length induced to perform an act of generous, disinterested benevolence. He paid her ransom, had her conveyed to the commissioners for negotiating with the Indians, and by them she was taken to a station on the south side of the Ohio. Here she met with two gentlemen (Long and Denton) who had been at the treaty to obtain intelligence of their children taken captive some time before, but not being able to gain any information respecting them, they were then returning to the interior of Kentucky and kindly furnished her a horse.
In consequence of the great danger attending a journey through the wilderness which lay between the settlements in Kentucky and those on the Holstein, persons scarcely ever performed it but at particular periods of the year, and in caravans, the better to defend themselves against attacks of savages. Notice of the time and place of the assembling of one of these parties being given, Mrs. Cunningham prepared to accompany it; but before that time arrived, they were deterred from the undertaking by the report that a company of travelers, stronger than their would be, had been encountered by the Indians, and all either killed or made prisoners. Soon after another party resolved on a visit to Virginia, and Mrs. Cunningham was furnished a horse belonging to a gentleman on Holstein (which had escaped from him while on a buffalo hunt in Kentucky and was found after his return,) to carry her that far on her way home. Experiencing the many unpleasant circumstances incident to such a jaunt, she reached Holstein, and from thence, after a repose of a few days, keeping up the Valley of Virginia, she proceeded by the way of Shenadoah, to the county of Harrison. Here she was sadly disappointed in not meeting with her husband. Having understood that she had been ransomed and taken to Kentucky, he had, some time before, gone in quest of her. Anxiety for his fate, alone and on a journey which she well knew to be fraught with many dangers, she could not cheerily partake of the general joy excited by her return. In a few days however, he came back. He had heard on Holstein of her having passed there and he retraced his steps. Arriving at his brother Edward’s he again enjoyed the satisfaction of being with all that was then dear to him on earth. It was a delightful but presently damped by the recollection of the fate of his luckless children.—Time assuaged the bitterness of the recollection and blessed him with other and more fortunate children.
In October 1784, a party of Indians ascended Sandy river and passing over to the head of Clynch, came to the settlement near where Tazewell court house is now located. Going first to the house of a Mr. Davisson, they killed him and his wife; and setting fire to their dwelling proceeded towards the residence of James Moore, Sr. On their way they met Moore and salting his horses at a lick trough the woods, and killed him. They then went to the house and captured Mrs. Moore and her seven children, and Sally Ivins, a young lady who was there on a visit. Fearing detection, they immediately departed for Ohio with the prisoners; and in order to expedite their retreat, killed John Moore, Jr., and the three younger children.
Upon their arrival at the Shawanee town on the Scioto (near the mouth of Paint creek) a council was held, and it was resolved that two of the captives should be burned alive, to avenge the death of some of their warriors who had been killed on the Kentucky river. This dreadful doom was allotted to Mrs. Moore and her daughter Jane,--an interesting girl about sixteen years of age. They were tied to a post and tortured to death with burning splinters of pine, in the presence of the remaining members of the family.
After the death of his mother and sister, James Moore was sent to the Maumee towns in Michigan, where he remained until December 1786,-- his sister Mary and Sally Ivins remaining with the Shawanees. In December 1786, they were all brought to Augusta county in conformity with the stipulations of the treaty of Miami and ransomed by their friends.*
In the fall of 1786, John Ice and James Snodgrass were killed by the Indians when looking for their horses which they had lost on a buffalo hunt on Fishing creek. Their remains were afterwards found—the flesh torn from the bones by the wolves—and buried.
* Mary Moore afterwards became the wife of a Mr. Brown, a Presbyterian preacher in Augusta. Her brother James Moore, Jr., still resides in Tazewell county; and notwithstanding that he witnessed the cruel murder of his mother and five brothers and sisters by the hands of the savages, he is said to have formed and still retain a strong attachment to the Indians. The anniversary of the burning of Mrs. Moore and her daughter, is kept by many in Tazewell as a day of fasting and prayer; and that tragical event gives rise to some affecting verses, generally called "Moores Lamentation."
A few days after Ice and Snodgrass left home in quest of their horses, a party of Indians came to Buffalo creek in Monongalia, and meeting with Mrs. Dragoo and her son in a corn field gathering beans, took them prisoners, and supposing that their detention would induce others to look for them, they way laid the path leading from the house. According to their expectation, uneasy at their continued absence, Jacob Strait and Nicholas Wood went to ascertain its cause. As they approached the Indians from their covert, and Wood fell;--Strait taking to flight was soon overtaken. Mrs. Strait and her daughter, hearing the firing and seeing the savages in pursuit of Mr. Strait, betook themselves also to flight, but were discovered by some of the Indians who immediately ran after them. The daughter concealed herself in a thicket of bushes and escaped observation. Her mother sought concealment under a large shelving rock, and was not afterwards discovered by the savages, although those in pursuit of her husband, passed near and overtook him not far off. Indeed she was at that time so close, as to hear Mr. Strait say, when overtaken, "don’t kill me and I will go with you;" and the savage replying "will you go with me," she heard the fatal blow which deprived her husband of life.
Mrs. Dragoo being infirm and unable to travel tot heir towns, was murdered on the way. Her son (a lad of seven) remained with the Indians upwards of twenty years,--he married a squaw, by whom he had four children,--two of whom he brought him with him, when he forsook the Indians.
In 1787 the Indians again visited the settlement on Buffalo, and as Levi Morgan was engaged in skinning a wolf which he had just take from his trap, he saw three of them—one riding a horse which he well knew, the other two walking near behind—coming towards him. On first looking in the direction they were coming, he recognized the horse, and supposed the rider to be its owner—one of his near neighbors. A second glance discovered the mistake, and he seized his gun and sprang behind a large rock,--the Indians at the same instant taking shelter by the side of a large tree.—As soon as his body was obscured from their view, he turned, and seeing the Indians looking towards the farther end of the rocks as if expecting him to make his appearance there, he fired and one of them fell. Instantly he had recourse to his powder horn to reload, but while engaged in skinning the wolf the stopper had fallen out and his powder was wasted. He then fled, and one of the savages took after him. For some time he held his gun; but finding his pursuer sensibly gaining on him, he dropped it under the hope that it would attract the attention of the Indian, and give him a better chance of escape. The savage passed heedless by it. Morgan then threw his shot pouch and coat in the way, to tempt the Indian to a momentary delay. It was equally vain,--his pursuer did not falter for an instant. He now had recourse to another expedient to save himself from captivity or death. Arriving at the summit of the hill up which he had directed his steps, he halted; and, as if some men were approaching from the other side, call aloud, "come on, come on, here is one, make haste." The Indian not doubting that he was really calling to some men at hand, turned and retreated as precipitately as he had advanced; and when he heard Morgan exclaim, "shoot quick, or he will be out of reach," he seemed to redouble, his exertion to gain that desirable distance. Pleased with the success of the artifice, Morgan hastened home; leaving his coat and gun to reward the savage for the deception practiced on him.*
In September of this year, a party of Indians were discovered in the act of catching some horses on the West Fork above Clarksburg; and a company of men led on by Col. Lowther, went immediately in pursuit of them. On the third night the Indians and whites unknown to each other, encamped not far apart; and in the morning the fires of the latter being discovered by Elias Hughes, the detachment which was accompanying him fired upon the camp, and one of the savages fell. The remainder taking to flight, one of them passed near to where Colonel Lowther and the
At the treaty of Au Glaize, Morgan met with the Indian who had given him this chase, and who still had his gun. After talking over the circumstance, rather more composedly than they had acted it, they agreed to test each other’s speed in a friendly race. The Indian being beaten, rubbed his hams and said, "stiff, stiff; too old, too old," "Well, said Morgan, you got the gun by out running me then, and I should have it now for outrunning you;" and accordingly took it.
were, and the Colonel firing at him as he ran, the ball entering at his shoulder, perforated him, and he fell. The horses and plunder which had been taken by the savages, were then collected by the whites, and they commenced their return home, in the confidence of false security. They had not proceeded far, when two guns were unexpectedly fired at them, and John Bonnet fell, pierced through the body. He died before he reached home.
The Indians never thought the whites justifiable in flying to arms to punish them for acts merely of rapine. They felt authorized to levy contributions of this sort, whenever an occasion served, viewing property thus acquired as (to use their own expression) the "only rent which they received for their lands." And if when detected in secretly exacting them, their blood paid the penalty, they were sure to retaliate with tenfold fury, on the first favorable opportunity. The murder of these two Indians by Hughes and Lowther was soon followed by acts of retribution, which are believed to have been, at least medially, produced by them.
On the 5th of December, a party of Indians and one white man, (Leonard Schoolcraft) came into the settlement on Hacker’s creek, and meeting with a daughter of Jesse Hughes, took her prisoner. Passing on, they came upon E. West, Senr. Carrying some fodder to the stable, and taking him likewise captive, carried him to where Hughes’ daughter had been left in charge of some of their party.—Here the old gentleman fell upon his knees and expressed a fervent wish that they would not deal harshly by him. His petition was answered by a stroke of the tomahawk, and he fell dead.
They then went to the house of Edmund West, Jun. Where were Mrs. West and her sister (a girl of eleven years old, daughter of John Hacker) and a lad of twelve, brother of West. Forcing open the door, Schoolcraft and two of the savages entered; and one of them immediately tomahawked Mrs. West. The boy was taking some corn from under the bed,--he was drawn out by the feet and the tomahawk sunk twice in his forehead, directly above each eye. The girl was standing behind the door. One of the savages approached and aimed at her a blow. She tried to evade it, but it struck on the side of her neck, though not with sufficient force to knock her down . She fell however, and lay as if killed. Thinking their work of death accomplished here, they took from a press some milk, butter and bread, placed it on the table, and deliberately sat down to eat.—the little girl observing all that passed, in silent stillness. When they had satisfied their hunger, they arose, scalped the woman and boy, plundered the house—even emptying the feathers to carry off the ticking—and departed, dragging the little girl by the hair, forty or fifty yards from the house. They then threw her over a fence, and scalped her; but she evinced symptoms of life. School observed "that is not enough," when immediately one of the savages thrust a knife into her side, and they left her. Fortunately the point of the knife came in contact with a rib and did not injure her much.
Old Mrs. West and her two daughters, who were alone when the old gentleman was taken, became uneasy that he did not return; and fearing that he had fallen into the hands of savages (as they could not otherwise account for his absence) they left the house and went to Alexander West’s, who was then on a hunting expedition with his brother Edmund. They told of the absence of old Mr. West and their fears for his fate; and as there was no man here, they went over to Jesse hughes’ who was himself uneasy that his daughter did not come home. Upon hearing that West too was missing, he did not doubt that both had fallen into the hands of Indians; and knowing of the absence from home of Edmund West, Jun, he deemed it advisable to apprize his wife of danger, and remove her to his house. For this purpose and accompanied by Mrs. West’s two daughters, he went on. On entering the door, the tale of destruction which had been done there was soon told in part. Mrs. West and the lad lay weltering in their blood, but not yet dead. The sight overpowered the girls, and Hughes had to carry them off.—Seeing that the savages had but just left them, and aware of the danger which would attend any attempt to move out and give the alarm that night, Hughes guarded his own house until day, when he spread the sorrowful intelligence, and a company was collected to ascertain the extent of the mischief and try to find those who were known to be missing.
Young West was found—standing in the creek about half a mile from where he had been tomahawked. The brains were oozing from his head; yet he survived in extreme suffering for three days. Old Mr. West was found in the field where he had been tomahawked. Mrs. West was in the house; she had probably lived but a few minutes after Hughes and her sisters in-law had left there. The little girl (Hacker’s daughter) was in bed at the house of old Mr. West. She related the history of the transactions at Edmund West’s, Jun., and said that she went to sleep when thrown over the fence and awakened by the scalping. After she had been stabbed at the suggestion of Schoolcraft and left, she tried to re-cross the fence to the house, but as she was climbing up she again went to sleep and fell back. She then walked into the woods, sheltered herself as well as she could in the top of a fallen tree, and remained there until the cocks crow in the morning.
Remembering that there was no person left alive at the house of her sister, awhile before day she proceeded to old Mr. West’s. She found no person at home, the fire nearly out, but the hearth warm and she laid down on it. The heat produced a sickly feeling, which caused her to get up and go to the bed, in which she was found. She recovered, grew up, was married, gave birth to ten children, and died, as was believed, of an affection of the head, occasioned by the wound she received that night. Hughes’ daughter was ransomed by her father the next year, and is yet living in sight of the theatre of those savage enormities.
In March 1789, two Indians came to the house of Mr. Glass in the upper end of Ohio (now Brooke) county. They were discovered by a Negro woman, who immediately exclaimed, "here are Indians". Mrs. Glass rose up from her spinning wheel, ran to the door, and was met by an Indian with his gun presented. She laid hold of the muzzle and turning I aside, begged that he would not kill, but take her prisoner. He walked into the house and when joined by another Indian with the Negro woman and her boy, about four years old, they opened a chest, took out a small box and some articles of clothing, and without doing farther mischief, departed with the prisoners.—Mrs. Glass and her child, two years of age, the Negro woman and boy and her infant child. They had proceeded but a short distance when a consultation was held, and Mrs. Glass supposing from their gestures and frequent pointing towards the children they were the subject of deliberation, held forth her little boy to one of the savages and begged that he might be spared—adding, "he will make a fine little Indian after awhile." He signed to her to go on. The other savage then struck the Negro boy with the pipe end of his tomahawk, and with the edge gave him a blow across the back of the neck, and scalped and left him.
In the evening they came to the Ohio river just above Wellsburg, and descended it in a canoe about five miles, to the mouth of Rush run. They drew the canoe some distance up the run and proceeding between one and two miles farther encamped for the night.—Next morning they resumed their march and about two o’clock halted on Indian Short creek, twenty miles farther.
When the savages came to the house of Mr. Glass he was at work in a field some few hundred yards off, and was ignorant that anything extraordinary had occurred there, until in the afternoon.—Searching in vain for his wife, he became satisfied that she had been taken by the Indians; and proceeding to Well’s fort prevailed on ten men to accompany him in quest of them. Early next morning they discovered the place where the Indians embarked in the canoe; and as Mr. Glass readily distinguished the impression made by Mrs. Glass’ shoe on the sand, they crossed the river with great expectation of being able to over take them. They then went down the river to the mouth of Rush run, where the canoe was found and identified by some of Mr. Glass’ papers, purposely left there by Mrs. Glass. From this place the trail of the Indians and their prisoners was plainly visible, and pursuing it, the party arrived in view of the smoke from their fire on Short creek, about an hour after the Indians had halted. Crossing slyly forward, when rather more than one hundred yards off they beheld the two savages attentively inspecting a red jacket which one of them held, and Mrs. Glass and her little boy and the Negro woman and her child a few paces from them.—Suddenly the Indians let fall the jacket, and looked towards the men. Supposing they were discovered, they discharged their guns and rushed towards the fire. One of the Indians fell and dropped his gun, but recovering, ran about one hundred yards when a shot aimed at him by Major McGuire brought him to his hands and knees.—Mrs. Glass informing them that there was another encampment of Indians close by, instead of following the wounded savage, they returned home with all speed.
In August five Indians on their way to the settlements on the waters of the Monongahela, met with two men on Middle Island creek and killed them. Taking their horses they continued on their route until they came to the house of William Johnson on Ten Mile, and made prisoners of Mrs. Johnson and some children; plundered the house, killed part of the stock, and taking with them one of Johnson’s horses turned towards the Ohio. When the Indians came to the house, Johnson had gone to a lick not far off, and on his return in the morning, seeing what had been done, and searching until he found the trail of the savages and their prisoners, ran to Clarksburg for assistance. A company of men repaired with him immediately to where he had discovered the trail, and keeping it about a mile, found four of the children lying dead in the woods. The savages had tomahawked and scalped them, and placing their heads close together turned their bodies and feet straight out so as to represent a cross. The dead were buried and farther pursuit given over.
Other Indians, about the same time, came to the house of John Mack on a branch of Hacker’s creek. He being from home, they killed all who were at the house. Two of the children, who had been sent into the woods to hunt the cattle, returning, saw a little sister lying in the yard scalped, and directly fled, and gave the alarm. In the morning some men assembled and went to ascertain the extend of the mischief. The little girl who had been scalped in the yard, was much burned, and those who had been murdered in the house, were consumed by it. Mrs. Mack had been taken some distance from the house, tomahawked, scalped, and stripped naked. She was yet alive; and as the men approached, a sense of her situation induced her to exert her feeble strength in drawing leaves around her so as to cover her nakedness. The men wrapped their hunting shirts about her, and carried her to a neighboring house. She lived a few days, gave birth to a child and died.
Some time after the murder of Mack’s family, John Sims, living on a branch of Gnatty creek, seeing his horses come running up much affrighted, was led to believe that the Indians had been trying to catch them. In a few minutes, the dogs began to park furiously in the corn field adjoining, and he became satisfied the savages were approaching. Knowing that he could offer on effectual resistance, if they should attack his house, he contrived an artifice to deter them from approaching. Taking down his gun, he walked around the house backward and forward, and as if speaking to men in it, called out, "Be watchful. They will soon be here, and as soon as you see them, draw a find bead;" Mrs. Sims in a coarse tone of voice and with feigned resolution, answering as she had been advised, "Never fear! Let them once shew their yellow hides, and we’ll pepper them." He would then retire into the house, change his garments, the better to support the deception, and again go forth to watch and give directions to those within, He pursued this plan until night, when he withdrew with his family to a place of safety. The Indians had actually been in the cornfield, and near enough to have shot Sims,--the place where they had been sitting being plainly discernible next morning. Sims’ artifice no doubt drove them off, and as they were retreating they fired the house of Jethro Thompson on Lost Creek.
In the spring of 1790, the neighborhood of Clarksburg was again visited by Indians in quest of plunder, and who stole and carried off several horses. They were discovered and pursued to the Ohio river, when the pursuers, being reinforced, determined to follow on over into the Indian country. Crossing the river and ascending the Hockhocking, near to the falls, they came upon the camp of the savages. The whites opened an unexpected fire, which killing one and wounding another of the Indians, caused the remainder to fly, leaving their horses about their camp.—These were caught, brought back and restored to their owners.
In April as Samuel Hull was engaged in ploughing a field for Major Benjamin Robinson, he was discovered by some Indians, shot, tomahawked , and scalped. The murder was first ascertained by Mrs. Robinson. Surprised that Hull did not come to the house as usual, to feed the horses and get his own dinner, she went to the field to see what detained him. She found the horses some distance from where they had been recently at work; and going on , presently saw Hull lying where he had been shot.
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