AS TOLD IN THE OLD PAPERS
IN AND AROUND LAWRENCE COUNTY, OHIO
Last update: Octobert 16, 1997
These stories have not been edited and more stories will be added as found. If you have any pictures or comments or more information regarding the Indians in Lawrence county, I would love hearing from you. Email Sharon Kouns.
- Excerpt from Folklore and Legends by Kouns and Wells.
- Antiquities in Lawrence County
- Reminiscences of the West
- Lawrence County Names
- Excerpt from A Talk with Charles Wilgus
- Among the Skeletons
- Excerpt from Our Budget
- An Old Timer
- Historical Sketches
- Incidents of Pioneer Life as Related to Me Long Ago
- An Adventure with an Indian Horse Thief
- Incidents of Pioneer Life
- Interesting Pioneer Notes
- Four Weeks in a Block House part 1
- Four Weeks in a Block House part 2
- Four Weeks in a Block House part 3
- How Wayne’s Sentinels were Killed
- The Perils of the Border
Excerpt from Folklore and Legends
by Kouns and Wells
There was a man living here (speaking of Burlington, Lawrence Co., Oh), before the town was laid out by the name of Baird, pronounced by the natives as spelled Beard, who traded with the Indians, sold them guns, ammunition, trinkets, &c., and worst of all “Firewater,” as the red men called whiskey. He accumulated quite a fortune, died very suddenly, was supposed to have been poisoned, and the house, which was afterward converted into a hotel, had the reputation of being haunted.
For the Register
ANTIQUITIES IN LAWRENCE COUNTY
Ironton Register, Thursday, July 1, 1858
OLIVE FURNACE, JUNE 26, 1858
- EDITOR: A human skeleton was found one day this week in one of the mounds which abound in this vicinity, similar to those in other parts of Ohio and of the West.
Formerly a part of this mound had been dug away for obtaining iron ore, to the depth of six or eight feet, leaving on one side a perpendicular bank. On this, some little boys were digging for amusement and were surprised by thus coming to what they at once termed “the frame of an old Red Skin.” – The more warlike among them essayed to demolish his remains by arming themselves with clubs, most irreverently dissevering and burying his bones from out their long and peaceful abode, where hitherto they had rested unmolested perhaps for centuries. But others of the party, being more curious, gathered up some of the fragments, afterwards exhibiting them to me, desiring some practical demonstrations, of the oral lessons in anatomy they had previously received. Among these were the skull, the lower jaw with some of the teeth some disconnected vertebrae, one of the ulna, and other bones. These were entire, but much darkened, some parts quite in a state of petrifaction. The curiosity of the little discoverers was greatly excited, and at their request I accompanied them to the spot from which these relics of the past were obtained, which is on a beautiful eminence near the dwelling of Mr. McGugin of this place. I there saw in a promiscuous heap, the rest of the skeleton, and discovered it to have been imbedded in red sand stone, within three feet of the surface.
No further examination as yet has been made. But I heard various conjectures made by these young antiquarians, as to how many more were entombed there, and what Indian curiosities or valuables might have been buried with the owners. One little fellow speaks for all tomahawks that may be found, another claims all the silver and precious metals hid there, very liberally promising me the “largest half” of his imaginative hidden treasure, when it shall have been found. I was puzzled by many questions about these mounds, and the race who constructed them, such as: Did they make these mounds exclusively for burying their dead? What kind of people were they? When was the country first inhabited by them? At what period, and how did they finally take the departure? Are they now extinct? Or do their descendants still live west of the Rocky Mountains, or elsewhere? Conjecturing answers, as best I could, and affecting to be wise, I succeeded in leaving our juvenile interrogators much better satisfied, than was my own mind, regarding these facts of the past.
Mr. Editor, if any of your correspondents can give well authenticated and satisfactory answers to the above questions they will much oblige yours,
(This whole matter embraced by the above “questions,” is all conjecture, and has been the subject of much speculation among antiquarians. Ed. Reg.)
REMINISCENCES OF THE WEST
Ironton Register, Thursday, January 7, 1858
Col. John Johnston, who for sixty-five years, has been a prominent citizen of Western Ohio – for many years the Government Indian Agent at Piqua – communicates an interesting article to the Pioneer Association, Cincinnati, which is published in the Gazette, and from which we make liberal extracts.
Col. Johnston is now about 83 years old. His father, Stephen Johnston, and his (Stephen’s) brothers, John and Francis, emigrated from the North of Ireland to what is now Perry county, Pennsylvania, at the close of the American Revolution. His father’s ancestors were Scotch Presbyterians; his mother’s French Huguenots. Two sons of Col. Johnston were officers in the U. S. Army, and perished in the War with Mexico.
The early years of Col. Johnston were spent in Carlisle, Pa., in a store. This was the rendezvous of the troops bound for the West. Harmar, and St. Clair, had been defeated by the Indians, and another Army was being recruited for the gallant Wayne. Companies were leaving the barracks at Carlisle for the frontiers as soon, as _______ for service. – And the glowing accounts of that almost boundless region inspired young Johnston with a desire to visit it. An opportunity soon occurred, and he accompanied Samuel Creigh, who went with a stock of goods, to sell to the army, going to Pittsburgh on foot, with loaded wagons. But let the Colonel tell his own story:
THE JOURNEY WEST
I was then in my seventeenth year, and the journey, performed in the depth of winter, fifteen miles a day, for loaded wagons, was considered a good day’s work. The average for the whole trip, per day would fall short of that, such was the wretched condition of the roads at that time, (17__2.) There was not, at that period, a single mile of turnpike in the State of Pennsylvania. The mountain region was so thinly populated that the local labor was entirely inadequate to keep the roads in any kind of repair. The settlers west of the mountains transported their supplies of salt, iron, and other necessaries, on pack horses. I have seen ___ty horses thus loaded, in one party at a time, passing over those rugged steeps. * * *
It may not be out of place, in a narrative of this kind, to state that Hon. Lewis Cass, now Secretary of State of the United States, first crossed the mountains on foot, at a somewhat later period than myself. The year I have forgotten. Although very young at the time, he carried in his knapsack all that he possessed. We were among the early adventurers to the Northwest; long and intimately associated together in the management of Indian affairs. While Governor of Michigan, he superintended the department in which I was the senior agent. More fortunate than myself, he attained to high honors and great wealth, whilst the ________ of life finds me in possession of a bare competence.
We finally reached Pittsburgh, then a small unimportant place, without, I think, a single brick building. The town consisted of a string of log houses along the bank of the Monongahela River. There were still some of the remains of the ancient French Fort, Duqueane, at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. The magazine which was bomb proof, was still perfect. – – Fort Fayette, erected under the authority of the United States, and for protection only against the Indians, and for the safe keeping of the public property, stood on the east bank of the Allegheny, about half a mile above the forks of the Rivers. It was a stockade of the usual kind, with block houses at the angles. There was no settlement of the whites west of the Allegheny River. The Indian war was raging, and men were often waylaid and murdered by the savages, and their mutilated bodies brought to the town for interment.
While the army remained here, previous to its going into quarters at Legionville, about twenty miles below, on the right bank of the Ohio, several desertions took place. – – It became necessary to make an example, by a public execution. A sergeant Trotter deserted in the night – was pursued and taken next morning – brought into camp – a drumhead court martial called; he was tried, sentenced, taken out, and shot before two o’clock in full view of the whole army. The unfortunate man was not more than twenty-five years old, tall, well-proportioned, a fine looking soldier. Such examples, although terrific in their character became necessary to preserve the army from dissolution. Three others were shot for a similar crime, after the army reached “Hobson’s Choice,” at Cincinnati; subsequently, two other soldiers were ordered for execution but were pardoned at the instance of the lady of General Wilkinson, the deserters having wives.
BATTLES AND INCIDENTS
The army remained at Legionville from the spring of 1793, until September of the same year, at which period it reached “Hobson’s Choice.” Late in October, General Wayne, with the army, reached Greenville, and went into winter quarters; in the same month, Lieutenant Lowry and Ensign Boyd, with a command of near 100 men, were attacked and defeated near Fort St. Clair. Both those gallant young officers, with many of their men, perished in the conflict.
On the 30th of June, 1794, Major McMahon, with his command, had a hard fought battle with the Indians under the walls of Fort Recovery, the ground of St. Clair’s dis______. The savages were ______, with a _____ our part of Major McMahon, Captain _____horn, and Lieutenant C_____g killed, and _________ officers and soldiers wounded. I happened to be at Greenville at the time. The _____ of the cannon was distinctly heard – Fort Recovery being only _____ miles distant. _____ force of the enemy being unknown, it was deemed imprudent to _______ a force for the relief of the garrison. Captain Gibson, who commanded Fort Recovery, defended his _______ with great skill and courage. The enemy were disappointed and ____________, but our _________ was severe.
In the summer of 1794, Col. Elliot, one of the contractors for the army, was killed by the Indians while on his way from the headquarters at Greenville to Fort Washington, and near to where Putman’s tavern afterwards stood, on the Hamilton road. The soldier who accompanied him escaped by the fleetness of his horse, and made his way to Fort Washington. Capt. Pierce, then in command, sent out a detachment next day, to recover the remains and bring them in for interment; the servant soldier of Elliot accompanied the party to identify the place of the murder. Arriving at the spot, and in searching among the under-growth bushes for the body, the Indians being still in ambush, shot the unfortunate soldier. His body, with that of his master, which was most barbarously mutilated, was brought in and buried at the old grave yard, at the corner of Fourth and Main streets, Cincinnati.
THE COMMON SOLDIER – REFLECTIONS
The name and history of the soldier is unknown, and so it is always; the common soldier does the hard fighting, and seldom receives any of the glory. Hundreds of their remains lie scattered throughout the Northwest, that have never had a grave to cover them. Many of the remains of those killed under Harmar, near Fort Wayne, were thus exposed and gathered together in my time.
We, of Ohio, should very highly estimate our privileges, for that noble country which it is our happy lot to enjoy, was purchased at an immense sacrifice of blood and treasure. � How grateful should be our feelings and our attachment, like hooks of steel, to Washington and the Federal Government, who sustained and sent forth armies after so many defeats, until the enemy was conquered and brought to submit to our terms, by the treaty of Greenville of 1795!
TRIBUTE TO KENTUCKY
Nor is our debt of gratitude less due to our neighbor – chivalrous Kentucky – who, after conquering and expelling from her own soil, without aid or assistance from the Federal Government, the hordes of savages, North and South, came voluntarily to our assistance, and never ceased coming at our call, until we rested in peace and security. The soil of Ohio has been drenched with some of the best blood of Kentucky. The Indian wars, as well as the second war for Independence of 1812 testify
“How heroes when _____,
Toiled for their ____, and for their safety bled.”
In the summer of 1794, I witnessed the arrival of the Kentucky volunteers at Cincinnati, under the command of Gen. Scott, said to be 1200 strong, on their way to headquarters at Greenville, to co-operate with Gen. Wayne, in the campaign against the Indians. They made a martial appearance. Their dress was a hunting-shirt and leggins, with equipments – rifle, tomahawk, knife, pouch, and powder horn. It was understood, there was not a drafted man in the whole command; all were volunteers. In those times, the men of Kentucky thirsted for an opportunity of being revenged on the savages; for it would be difficult to find, in the whole of the State, a family that had not suffered the loss of some of its members by the inroads of the Southern and Northern Indians.
COL. DANIEL BOONE
I spent the winter of 1795 at Bourbon Court House, Kentucky. I there made the acquaintance of the celebrated Daniel Boone, who was brought to the place by a Mr. Owings, as well as I can recollect, for the purpose of tracing up some land lines and titles. I slept four or five nights in the same room with Boone. He was a modest, retiring person, of few words; scarcely speaking unless spoken to; of medium size. His age at that time might have been fifty years; although in mid-winter, he was poorly attired; his garments all, or nearly all, linen. In the earlier period of his life, he was a prisoner among my Shawanoese Indians, and as such, often trod the ground of Upper Piqua, for many years my home, and the seat of my agency for Indian affairs in the Northwest. A few years ago, I happened to be at the Harrodsburgh Springs, Kentucky. While there, I received an invitation from the Governor to attend at Frankfort, to act as one of the pall-bearers at the re-interment of the remains of Boone and his wife, who had been recently removed from the State of Missouri, by a committee sent from Kentucky for that purpose. The bodies had remained in the soil of Missouri for near thirty years, and it was after much hesitancy on the part of the person on whose plantation they were deposited, that he consented to their removal; all the small bones of both had mouldered into dust. They were enclosed in separate boxes, and at Frankfort transferred to two plain handsome coffins, and thus committed to their last resting place, in the public cemetery at Frankfort, which occupies a high and beautiful knoll, overlooking the Kentucky River. It was accorded to myself to carry Boone’s coffin from the hearse to the grave; it indicated no weight beyond that of the boards of which it was made. The Military, Free Masons, and Odd Fellows were out in their appropriate uniform, and in large numbers. The whole attendance was estimated at twenty-five thousand. Hon. John J. Crittenden was the orator, and the Methodist Bishop Soule, the chaplain, on the occasion. * * * Boone was always poor, and it is believed did not own an acre of ground at the time of his death. It was contemplated that the Legislature of Kentucky would cause an appropriate monument to be placed over the remains of those distinguished and adventurous Pioneers. I have not learned whether that pledge has been redeemed. (It has not. – Ed. Reg)
INDIANS ‘NATURALIZE’ OTHERS
The practice of adopting children and grown persons captured in war, is universal with all the Indian nations, and after the ceremony of adoption is ended, the stranger is received and in all respects treated as one of their own blood. In 1818, at the treaty of St. Mary’s, being the senior agent in service, I was charged with the management, care, and supply of ten thousand Indians. A murder was committed by a young Potawatmie on the person of another young man of the same tribe, who happened to be the only son of an aged widow, and her only support. – – The murderer made no attempt to escape, was taken, and made to sit down at the feet of the corpse, the widow in her mourning sitting at the head. The Chiefs assembled to deliberate the case. The conclusion was, the murderer must eat a piece of the dead man’s liver, and then be adopted and given to the widow in place of her son, all which was complied with. I furnished on the part of the Government, as a finale to the whole matter, a quantity of goods to clothe the parties. I never heard that any grudge or bad rumor grew out of the case. The woman took the young man to her home, and appeared content and satisfied. The practice of adopting from one tribe or nation to another, persons taken in war, was universal and from time immemorial. Thus one of the principal Chiefs of the Wyandotts was a native Cherokee, taken in war, and was always known by name as the “Cherokee Boy.”
THE INDIAN RACE
The Indians who inhabited the soil of Ohio in my time were the Wyandotts, on Sandusky river and its tributaries; the Ottawas, about Maumee Bay, and up the River about Defiance, and along Blanchard’s Fork; the Shawnese, at Wapaghkonetta, Hog Creek, and at Lewis Town, at the source of the Miami of the Ohio. The Senecas resided at Seneca Town, near Lower Sandusky; a small band of the Delawares resided about seven miles south of Upper Sandusky, under the Chief Captain Pipe; the whole numbering about three thousand souls; and agreeable to our usual estimate of Indian population, producing five to six hundred fighting men. They have all left for the far West, it having fallen to my lot to negotiate a treaty of cession and emigration with the last of the natives, the Wyandotts, in 1812.
The Indians do not now own a foot of land on the soil of Ohio, nor is one of their race to be found residing within its limits. Sixty-five years ago, when I first came to Northwest Territory, they were the sole occupants of the country. A few more years, and there will not be one of them left to tell that they ever existed!
[Of all the Indians of his Agency, Col. Johnston says that “Weshequonaghqua,” or Little Turtle, of the Miamis, “was by far the most eloquent, and the ablest Indian diplomatist and statesman.” At the Treaty of Greenville, in 1795, which gave peace ____ the West, “he contended manfully for the _____ and interests of his people.” Col. Johnston continues:]
I was often the guest of Little Turtle, at his home on Eel River, a branch of the Wabash, about twenty miles from Ft. Wayne. He lived in good style for an Indian – had two wives, one an old woman, the choice of his youth, the other a young girl of eighteen years. Both appeared to live in great peace and harmony. * * * The Turtle received a pension from the English Government of one hundred guineas a year, and this was continued to him long after the United States assumed the jurisdiction. High living destroyed the health of the Chief, who died at Fort Wayne, not quite sixty years old, a confirmed case of the gout. He was buried, by order of the commanding officer, with military honors. * * * After the Turtle’s death, the Miamis possessed no one of equal abilities to occupy his place. The tribe degenerated into dissipation, and lost its rank and influence in the confederacy of the Northwest tribes. � The rapid increase of our population compelled them to abandon their favorite home on the Wabash, and seek a new country southwest of Missouri. From the accounts I have of their intemperate habits and bad management, they will, doubtless, soon become extinct. And this fate, I fear, awaits most of the tribes who emigrated from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
A TRIP UP THE OHIO RIVER
I left Fort Washington in the fall of 1794, and ascended the Ohio by water to Wheeling in a small pirogue purchased by a party of nine, who clubbed for the cost and the common stock of provisions for the trip. We organized for defense against the Indians, who often waylaid the River, attacking and capturing boats. Chose John Ward, afterwards Clerk of the Courts at Steubenville, Ohio, for our Captain. The River was low, and the passage tedious. One man of the party was always detailed on shore to guard against surprise from the Indians, and this duty was performed alternately by all of the party, the Captain excepted. We never made any fire at night, cooked our supper in the afternoon, then pushed our craft on until night set in. – – We then sought some quiet nook when we landed, and lay down to sleep, one of the party keeping awake, and acting as sentinel. – – We often lodged on islands, and sometimes on the north and at other times on the southern shore. Thus we baffled the savages, if any were in pursuit. We reached Wheeling in safety, after a passage of more than twenty days. A larger party, who started with us, and from which we purposely separated, lost two men killed and a woman wounded by the Indians. In passing up, we saw several remains of boats that had been captured and destroyed by the Indians, the unfortunate occupants being either killed or taken into captivity by the savages. My relative, Charles Johnston, of Botetourt, Virginia, was thus taken in 1792, on the Ohio, his boat being decoyed ashore by a base white man, under pretense of being a prisoner escaped from the Indians. Mr. May, the principal owner of the boat and cargo, was shot through the head, dead, while holding up an emblem of surrender. Johnston, after being taken to the Wyandott villages on Sandusky River, was ransomed by a humane trader named Francis Duchaquet.
Lawrence County Names
Lawrence County, Ohio
|Aarons creek was named for Capt. Aaron, a white hunter who camped on it while the Indians were still hunting here.|
|Johns creek was named for Capt. John Smith, an Indian who had a camp on it near where Walter Neal now lives.|
|The last Indian killed was shot on the hill side of a south branch of Two Mile Creek. His shot pouch was full of lead ore.|
Ironton Register, Thursday, September 8, 1887 Excerpt from:
A TALK WITH CHAS. WILGUS
HOW THEY LIVED IN THOSE DAYS
The Miller brothers carried the mails from Maysville to Limestone and for a year from Wheeling, Va. They would travel sometimes on one side of the river and sometimes on the other. If they noticed Indian trails on the Ohio side, they would return on the Virginia side. They camped in the woods and built fires in a hole dug in the earth so the blaze wouldn’t show. They would scrape the snow away and roll themselves in their blankets and sleep. Joe was, at one time, returning on the Ohio side; he had shot a deer and was skinning it. Hearing a slight noise on the hill above him, he looked up and saw what he supposed to be elk’s horns glistening in the sunlight. What was his surprise to see about thirty Indians appear on the bluff above his camp. He hastily tied his shot pouch to his head, grasped his rifle in his hand and swam across the river. He reached the other shore, ascended the bank and got behind a tree. The Indians called him to come to them, but he knowing them too well, fired his gun at the crowd and ran as fast as possible on his way leaving them to enjoy his hard earned supper on the other side.
Ironton Register, Thursday, March 17, 1892
Among the Skeletons
Digging Into An Ancient Mound
Crowded with the Bones of the Mound Builders
Pottery, Beads, Shells, and Many Interesting Trinkets Unearthed
Last Tuesday, S. C. Winkler entered the Register office with a basket, from which he drew out from under the papers, that covered the contents, a glistening skull. “That” said he “is a product of my farm- I dug it up a few days ago; and this,” pulling out a long strand of beads, and holding it up, I took out with the skull, and must have been around the neck of the person.”
Mr. Winkler went on to remark that five or six skeletons had been dug up from a little spot, a few feet square, but they broke to pieces as they were exhumed. The place which contained the skeletons had been covered by the old dwelling house of Joshua Kelly, father of Rev. J. M. Kelly, at Union landing. The house had been torn down and removed and Mr. Winkler was leveling down the ground where the house stood, preparatory to plowing, and thus struck the skeletons.
So remarkable a find was exciting to a newspaper man, so we immediately returned with Mr. Winkler, taking a seat by his side in his two-horse express and driving through the snow storm to the land of the mound builders.
Reaching Mr. Winkler’s house, we found dinner awaiting him, which was a happy circumstance for the Register man, too, for we fell to, and absorbed an enjoyable meal, and made ourselves strong to tackle the skeletons sleeping so sweetly in the mound over on the river bank; for thither we immediately repaired. The spot as we said had been covered by Joshua Kelly’s residence, which was built on an Indian mound in 1828. Rumor comes down that from that remote day, when digging the foundation for the chimney, they exhumed a skeleton of a ferocious warrior who must have been seven and a half feet high, and whose lower jaw, fitted to an ordinary man’s completely enveloped it.
But, since those days nothing further has been noticed, except that the land around was thick with pieces of pottery and peculiar trinkets of a lost race. Now, when Mr. Winkler attempts to remove the gentle elevation occupied by the building, his shovel and pick strike skeletons at nearly every thrust. Last week, in digging a hole six feet square, he struck five or six skeletons and took out two perfect skulls, with the teeth robed in the peculiar cadaverous smile.
When we arrived at the place the excavations were resumed. In a moment, the shovel was crunching through ribs and thigh bones and vertebrae at a fearful rate. We would strike a thigh bone and follow it up through the pelvis, and thence along the spine to the cranium, and thus endeavor to save the skeletons and the skulls, but they were already broken, or easily fell to pieces when removed. But we got fine specimens of the jaw bones, the humerus, the femur, divers vertebrae, and sections of the skulls. In a couple of hours we exhumed half a dozen cranis, but were unable to secure a perfect one. There are, probably, the bones of fifty persons in that little vestige of a mound that is not over thirty feet in diameter.
We did not have to dig down more than 2 � feet to find the remains. Some were within 8 or 10 inches of the surface. Two feet down, one strikes the solid original earth, a yellowish clay. Above that, the earth, constituting the mound, is all rich loam, removed to that place, at least a thousand years or more ago. Ashes and shells, the usual accompaniment of these interesting mounds are here in profusion. The beads making a strand five feet long were a very interesting discovery. Mr. Winkler kindly gave us a generous portion of this strand which we will prize as a keepsake coming down from a nation whose existence is yet wrapped in deep mystery.
One thing we noticed about these ancient inhabitants was the excellence of their teeth. The jaws were all full of sound teeth, and an enterprising dentist might, even in this day, make them do good service in the mouths of beauty and fashion.
We should not have wondered if the good family that founded their home over that little graveyard and raised their children there, would have had some little fears of ghosts and hobgoblins had they known that right beneath them were fifty skeletons. It was certainly a fine chance for spooks, for surely anyone’s fancy amid such a scene, could without much effort, summon up a whole train of disembodied spirits. Digging there in the middle of the day, in the reality of a snow storm, we could not help beholding in the dim vistas of oblivion, giants and ______ of a vanished race, every time we struck a cranium or flipped out huge femur.
There are the remains of the Mound builders, who lived here over a thousand years ago, long before the Choctaws and Chippewas ranged the forests and built their wigwams on the banks of the beautiful river. In their last resting places, we found pieces of pottery, mussel shells, ashes, and trinkets that mark unerringly the last abode of the Mound builders. We brought with us as a trophy of the day’s experience, a piece of pottery, a vertebra, a knee cap, and some beads.
Some of the bones were very large, showing that there were giants in those days. But among the remains were the thin cranial bones of the child, that almost fell to pieces at the touch. It would have been almost impossible to rescue a complete skeleton unless a person were to do the exhuming entirely with his fingers, and then he would find many of the bones quite imperfect. There seemed to have been no order of burial except that the bodies were laid with the heads in the direction of the river.
When the first of these bodies were exhumed, a few days ago, the rumors of a ghastly find of the bodies of recently murdered people got out, and some one wrote the Portsmouth Blade of discovery, and the editor thereof demanded that the authorities investigate the matter. But our neighbor should compose himself. If those are murdered remains, the murderers must have lived 10 or 15 hundred years ago, and it is now a little late to arrest them.
Ironton Register Thursday, March 24, 1892
Excerpt from: The account in the Register, last week, of a visit to the “Indian” mound, and the excavation thereof, awakened considerable interest, and we have received several inquiries, which we will answer at random. The bones were almost as light as cork. The teeth fell out of the jaws upon the slightest handling. The skulls were full of earth, packed solid, and the bones parted upon the slightest pressure. The pottery in the mounds was made of a black clay, in which were many fragments of shells. It was very hard. The beads were made of shells and deer horn, and were in pieces form the size of a pea to a peanut. It is very interesting relic. There were ashes in the mound, and one gentleman, referring to the fact, said the mound-builders probably buried with the ritual, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust &c.” The mound was made of soft earth piled up on a solid clay.
Ironton Register, Thursday, April 14, 1892
AN OLD TIMER
Letter From a Citizen of Early Days
The following letter will call up many memories of the past, especially among the pioneers of this immediate region. Though the writer aims to give some information about the exhumed skeletons, his theories are not correct. The graves are those of the Mound builders and not of the Indians. This region was never thickly populated by Indians. They did come here, and frequent Hanging Rock and Ferguson’s bar to entrap flatboatmen bound down the river, but they did not congregate here in great numbers, such as the mounds around suggest.
We are obliged to Mr. Carpenter for his letter, for it is an interesting chapter of the old times:
CARPENTER STORE, P. O., MO., MARCH 26, 1892
EDITOR REGISTER – I see in the St. Louis Republic a statement from Portsmouth, Ohio, that on the old farm of Joshua Kelley’s at Union furnace landing, and under the old house there was unearthed a lot of human skeletons, that produced a sensation among the citizens in that part of the country. When I read it, it did not surprise me in the least. I was raised one mile above Hanging Rock on the old Wm. Carpenter farm, and one mile below Ironton and left there in 1841 to come to Missouri when I was 8 to 12 years old. I used to visit John Kelly’s mid one-half mile below Union Landing and often went up to the Kelly farm before the Union furnace landing was established to look at old Indian mounds not far from the landing in the Kelly field, to find old bones of humans, dogs, horses, deer and other animals. It was said then to me, by old settlers, old aunt Amy Davidson wife of ——- Davidson, that there used to be an old Indian town there, and on the John Kelly farm just below it, and at an early day it had been a battle ground of the Indians and many were killed and buried there. After the Ohio river had been up in the spring of the year, the banks caved off from Union landing to opposite Mrs. Austin’s old brick house, and there were many human and other bones left on the bank after the water went down. I with other boys have picked up five or more barrels of them when we went to mill, and waiting for our grist. I heard my grand father, Samuel Clark, who did the work on John Kelly’s log house, in the Fall of 1804, say that while he was there at work, some of the work hands found close to the line between the Kelly farm and the Austin farm a pile of lead bullets; that filled a peck measure full; and when digging the cellar for the Kelly house, in the southwest corner of the cellar, about 4 feet down, they dug up big human skeletons that were nearly 7 feet long and the jaw bone with teeth in it would slip over the jaw bone outside of the flesh of grandfather’s face and not press it any. He was 5 feet 9 inches high and weighed 165 pounds. The leg bone from the knee joint to the ankle joint would, put on the floor, come to the top of his knee; and that there was a bone spear in the shape of a straight knife blade 11 inches long found with the skeletons when dug up there.
I have heard many thrilling stories told about the Indian doings at the head of the Ferguson bar in the river at and below Union Landing; of the murdering of a whole family going down the river in what was then called family boats, made to move down the river in taking the family and stock in the boat, and the bar in the river forced the boats close to the bank there, they became an easy prey to the Indians and many of them were murdered for what they had in their boats. These things were talked of many times by the old settlers, such as the Trumbos, Austins, Dollarhides, grandmother Yingling, Mr. Gillruth, Mr. Neff, father of George and Jacob and grandfather of Gabriel and Samuel Neff and by Mr. Osborne and Mr. Norman who lived at the mouth of the branch at Hanging Rock. The lower branch was named Normans run, after Mr. Norman, who lived at the mouth of the branch, on the lower side of the branch. The upper branch, Osborne run, that divided the old Bartles farm from the Hanging Rock the place just where the road crossed the bridge just west of the ground occupied by widow Ellison, west of the Ellison house. And on the farm just opposite, where I was engaged, on the old Clancey farm, there were many Indian mounds full of human bones; that many of them were thrown out the ground by plow. I have heard old Mr. Warnoch and old Mr. Dugans talk of the big Indian town on that and the Mead farms and the stories they told would make the hair stand straight on one’s head.
Now this is what I have been told by the old settlers in that part of the country, and have seen myself when I was a small boy and lived there then. I am a son of Wm. Carpenter and cousin of Wm. and Edius Lambert. Wm. Lambert is the father of Wm. and Whitfield Lambert, who were interested in the foundry at Ironton. I left there in 1841; came to Missouri and was back to the old place in 1855 and have not been there since. I would like to be back there to see the changes that have taken place since. I found when back there, but few of my old acquaintances and the old Lee, Smith, Davidson and Lionbarger farms sold and the town of Ironton on them, and the old man Bartles farm sold and a part of the town Hanging Rock built on it; and would not now find anyone that I ever knew as most of them are dead and the balance have moved away and I would be a stranger there now. I am too old to think of coming back to see the old place again; am 74 years old; have good health, strong hearing and sight; can shoot a rifle and hit the bottom of a half pint tin cut at 40 yards, 3 out of 5 shots; have chopped a cord of wood a day this winter.
When you read this, it will probably give you some idea of the mystery on the Kelly farm and you can publish it if you like, as it would give many of your people of your country an idea of how things used to be in that part of the country and the change that has taken place since I left there in April 1841, and hope this will not worry your patience out of you to read it.
- S. — Wilson Clark of Mason in your country is my cousin. My father, Fred Bartles, John Steece, Joseph Huffman and Wm. Wolf built Center furnace in 1836 and sold it to Robt. Hamilton, Jas. Rodgers and Wm. Shirer.
A PIONEER SKETCH
Ironton Register, Thursday, November 10, 1853
Shortly After the battle of King’s Mountain, there came to the wilds of Kentucky two of its most renowned heroes and chiefs. Stalwart of size, majestic in mien, and daring almost to recklessness, yet of different temperaments, for one was sanguine, and the other bilious – these two warriors who had often fought. “Foemen worthy of their steel,” were as gentle to each other as doves, and were knit together by the strongest ties of friendship.
They “squatted” about fourteen miles from each other, in the thick woods of that part of the State now known as Madison and Lincoln counties. The war-whoop of the Indian and the howl of the wolf were the only sounds which broke the solitude of the west, and all the energies of hardy pioneers were directed to their self protection, from the merciless enemies of the white man.
They occasionally visited each other when an emergency called for their united action, and those of the hunters each could muster to do battle with the savages. On one occasion the spies of both chiefs reported a gathering of the Indians up the Kentucky river, at a place rugged and sublime, now Estill County. Each left his cabin at the same time, for the purpose of consulting with the other; of course armed to the teeth, and carrying the unerring rifle, ready for any surprise. Treading their way through the forest, Shelby upon his splendid black bald-face, as he was familiarly called, and Kennedy coming cautiously from an opposite direction, they both, at the same time, with their quick animals, pricked up their ears at the sound of horses’ feet. As they advanced, the sounds became more perceptible, and ere long were in rifle shot distance. Each supposing the other a red skin, and of course a deadly foe, dismounted and treed himself for a better inspection of the movements of the other. The triggers might then be heard breaking the stillness of the forest. A time of intense suspense ensued as they waited the advance. Neither could be perceived, except but dimly, through the trees and bushes, and their dresses so much resembled that of ____________________ were leveled so that the white of one eye might prove a target for the other. But no such chance occurred, and Kennedy being of too impatient a temperament to wait longer, took the ground trail to get a shot. Unperceived even by his wary adversary until his rifle was raised almost, he was about sending the leaden messenger of death, when he spied old Baldface near his antagonist. With a joyful cry he exclaimed:
“Hallo! Ike, is that you!”
“Why, yes, Tom! Is that you!”
“Why certainly, Ike, and you came d_____d near being shot for a redskin.”
“Not near than you, for a minute more and old Betty would have sent you a harder meal to digest than you have had in your stomach for a coon’s age.”
Mutually congratulating each other thus upon their escape, they proceeded to the cabin of Kennedy. After discussing their plans, they discussed a very substantial dinner of dried venison and maize bread, washed down with the most healthful and exhilarating of all beverages, – Adam’s ale. Their meal being finished they crossed over to Paint Lick, where Kennedy had mustered his men, which, together with what Shelby called out, made nineteen, “Hunters of Kentucky,” all told.
On the banks of the romantic Silver Creek, which found its way through the umbrageous darkness of the forest, met these stern men who had set their life upon the cast, and had resolved to stand the hazard of the die.
They trailed the foe to a place called Vinegrove – now in Madison county, – and tracked them across the Kentucky river, until they reached a mountainous country some hundred and twenty miles above Frankfort. They ascertained that the Indians numbered seventy or eighty stout warriors. On discovering the trail, the pursuers held a council of war, in which all joined, and in which all agreed save one – who afterwards distinguished himself in the melee – to charge the redskins on the mountain: a shelving elevation of great height, now in Estill county. The little band was divided into three companies, each taking a different route from the other, and to unite after a preconcerted signal, in a beautiful valley east of the mountains, leaving the horses under a guard of two men.
To describe the scene which ensued, we must first premise that the mountain where the attack of the hunters was formed in terraces or ledges, where six might walk abreast, shelving one above the other, at a distance of eight or ten feet. Kennedy perceiving one of his hated foes on one of these ledges, could not restrain his impatience, but left his corps in hot pursuit. Striding quickly along one ledge he found that his wily enemy was on that over his head. Rapidly retracing his steps he took the upper flight, and hurried along. Suddenly as he passed a bend or abutment on the ledge, carrying his rifle preparatory for any emergency, the swift descent of a tomahawk over his weapon made him aware of the presence of a gigantic savage, immediately behind him.
The concussion of the hatchet with the rifle barrel, made the former fly from the hand of the Indian, far down the hill below. In the meantime, Kennedy’s weapon was useless from the close proximity of the foe, and from the deadly clutch with which he grasped the courageous hunter. The rifle fell down between them, and the strong power of muscle has seldom been so severely tested. The terrific struggle of Boone with his red fore, and the startling portraiture fills a niche in the Capitol of the Union, in illustrating the early history of the country. Fiendish seems to be the expression stamped upon the Indian’s face, while nerve is vivid on the countenance of Boone. Terrible was the struggle but not more so than that between Kentucky and his enemy.
Fierce they rolled together in deathless silence upon the brink of the ledge, now the hunter on the savage, and quick as lightening the savage on the hunter. Vainly did Kennedy strive to handle his knife, and decide the contest; over and over they rolled, until making a desperate lunge the yoked enemies fell headlong over the ledge, upon that below, still clinging with the tenacity of the wolf’s fangs, while the drops of blood and sweat poured out like rain. No gladiators ever showed a more terrific combat, and it was awful to witness amid the peaceful solitude of nature, such a demoniac exhibition of human hate. Again they struggled, glaring on each other as two hyenas, and again they rolled over the ledge, and fell beneath. Fortunately in this fall the Indian was under the hunter, and the stunning effects, with previous exhaustion, gave Kennedy an opportunity to reach his knife, with which he dispatched him just as Shelby and his comrades hove in sight. And thus ended “the death struggle.”
Ironton Register, Thursday, October 24, 1895
INCIDENTS OF PIONEER LIFE AS RELATED TO ME LONG AGO
(by John G. Wilson)
For the Register.
Many years ago when Ohio was neutral ground, claimed by the rival parties, the English, French and the Indians, a man by the name of Lynd lived over the river about a mile below Burlington. At that time there was no settlement in Ohio closer than Marietta, above, and Cincinnati below. This man, Lynd, got into his canoe early one morning, and paddled across the river to hunt deer as the woods in Ohio at that time were full of them. He landed just were Burlington now stands, which at that time was an unbroken forest. He soon sighted and killed a fine doe and after waiting in concealment some half an hour, for fear the report of his rifle might bring down upon him some roving Indians, he leaned his trusty rifle against a tree and proceeded to skin and cut up his game, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings. Whilst busily engaged with his game, he heard the report of a gun and the whiz of the bullet as it passed closely by his head and buried itself in the tree against which he had leaned his gun. Looking quickly around he discovered five Indians running toward him tomahawk in hand.
The day was a dark drizzly one and a fog was gathering on the river but had not risen very high as yet. Grasping his gun, he ran with all his might to his canoe which he had pulled upon the shore. He pushed the canoe into the water, giving it a shove which sent it a full 20 feet from the shore, falling flat into it. It was well he did so, for another report was heard and the ball went through the side of the canoe just over his head. The fog which had been slowly gathering, now enveloped him, so that he was invisible to those who were after him. He heard their cries and understanding somewhat of their language, heard them talking about another canoe, which they had hidden somewhere in the willows which lined the shore. He hurriedly arose, grasped his paddle, and made his way swiftly to the other side landing just below the mouth of Twelvepole creek on a low, sandy flat almost an island and which was covered with pawpaw bushes and grape vines interspersed with giant sycamore trees. As he landed he heard the strokes of the paddles and the yells of his pursuers, and his heart sank within him. However, he loaded his rifle and ran for the center of the land on which he was, and fortunately he came across a fallen tree under which he hid himself. It was not long before he heard the Indians approaching, following his trail, but just before he reached the tree, he had to pass through a large pond of water, which completely hid his footprints and as the fog was still dense, the Indians were at fault and scattered to see if they could not find it again. Twice they crossed the tree under which he lay concealed and once, three of them sat down on the tree within a few feet of him, and he heard them talking, that it would not do to stay too long as the white man must have companions and they would come in search of him. So they gave up the search and taking both canoes crossed the river, took his deer and went their way. This man Lynd was the ancestor of the Lynd families who live back of Burlington, and I think he afterwards moved over into this township and became one of its earliest settlers. G.
Ironton Register, Thursday, April 02, 1896
AN ADVENTURE WITH AN INDIAN HORSE THIEF
(by John G. Wilson)
For the Register.
About 70 years ago, there lived a man on the bank of Twelvepole Creek, West Va. He had purchased 500 acres of land along the creek, and had put up a log cabin and cleared out a few acres for corn. He depended mostly on game and fish until he could get his farm cleared. He with his wife had moved from eastern Virginia, and had settled down in their western home. Their folks were well-to-do, and lived on the banks of the James river. After he had been about two years on his place, he went on a visit to his people, and they made him a present of a fine blooded mare, which had been brought from England. She was a beautiful animal, five years old and he valued her above all his possessions. A horse at that time was almost a necessity and to lose one was considered a serious loss. He built him a log stable nearby, and was constantly on the lookout for Indian horse thieves, well aware they would steal his mare whenever they got a chance as they were lovers of good horses.
One dark rainy night, when the dogs were driven under cover in the fodder house, where they stayed on bad nights, an Indian stole quietly into the stable, unloosened the mare, put a rawhide halter on her, muffled her feet in pieces of blankets, and led her about a half a mile to a ford in the creek, when he took the blankets from her feet, forded the creek, mounted her and made his way toward the headwaters of the great Kanawha river. In the morning the man discovered his loss and his rage was fearful. He had another horse which was older and had been worked hard so as to stiffen its limbs, and the wily savage knew that it could not keep up. The man mounted his old horse and rode about twenty miles to two of his neighbors, who had been in the Indian war with himself under Wayne, and knew all about the Indians. They proffered their services and came home with him so as to make ready and take the trail, which they did the next morning, armed with their trusty rifles and tomahawks and knives. They took in their shot pouches a lot of parched corn and dried venison, which they had learned from the Indians would sustain life longer than any other food known. (I have heard old hunters say that with a handful of parched corn and a piece of dried venison which they called “Jerk” that they could go for two days.) Their keen eyes soon discovered the trail when they had crossed the ford and they followed it swiftly on horseback, riding single file as the Indians do. The trail led in the direction of the headwaters of the Kanawha, and as one remarked, in a mighty ugly place, as the Indians would be gathered in numbers about the falls to spear fish which they annually did, drying them over a fire to store away for winter use.
On they went as fast as they could go keeping an eye on the trail until night, when they stopped near a small creek in which they watered their horses; then hobbling them they turned them loose to browse on the undergrowth which they liked. It was in the month of May, and the branches were tender. Then, rolling themselves in their blankets (without making a fire which was dangerous) they were soon asleep with the exception of one, who wrapped in his blanket and leaning against a large tree, rifle on lap, was on watch. All you could see was the outlines of his form and the spark in his pipe which told that he was on the alert. About midnight he aroused one of his companions, who took his place and at the first appearance of day aroused the others, who caught and saddled their horses and mounting, eating their venison and corn as they rode away on the trail. Toward evening of the second day, when they were getting on to what they called dangerous ground, they saw the smoke of a fire as the trail led towards it, they knew that they were almost up with the Indian. When about a quarter of a mile they dismounted, tied their horses to small trees, and crept forward towards the smoke, rifles ready. The fire was in a little cave sheltered by the adjacent hills, and creeping up as silently as they could, they reached the point just above the fire on the hillside, from where they could see the Indian seated on the mare, talking to five more Indians, who were sitting on a log with a fire in front of them, where a piece of bear meat was roasting. The owner of the horse whispered to his neighbors, that he would shoot the Indian on the mare, and they should fire at those on the log. When all was ready, the whispered word was given, and the deadly rifles were fired. The Indian on the horse, whose back was toward them, was shot just below the left shoulder blade, the bullet passing clear through the body, killing him almost instantly. He fell forward grasping in his death agony the neck of the mare, which instantly turned and galloped toward home. The other men, also fired their guns, and two Indians fell from the log shot through the head. The other three with a yell of rage, buried themselves in the bushes as quick as they could. The three white men ran with all speed to their horses, mounting them and started for home as fast as they could. The mare passed them before they reached their horses, with the Indian still on her back, his arms clasped around her neck and held on until dead, when the limbs of the trees under which the horse ran, pulled him off. The white men discovered his body as they came along following the mare which they knew would take the nearest course home, and stopping long enough to see that he was dead, they pushed on and reached home the following evening. The mare arrived first and caused quite a commotion, for several of the neighbors had gathered in to stay with the wife, while her husband had gone, and they could see that the mare’s mane was full of clotted blood giving evidence that something terrible had happened. However, in a few hours the men rode up and all was explained. The neighbors were all hospitably entertained and were kept until the next day, when they went to their homes leaving the assurance that when horse thieves came they were ready for another hunt. G.
Ironton Register, Thursday, April 30, 1896
OLD TIMES INCIDENTS IN PIONEER LIFE
(by John G. Wilson)
For the Register.
When I was a boy, a small cave just back of our Village was pointed out to me in which it was said, that an Indian skeleton was found; and as I was curious to know how it came there, the following tale was told. Away back, when Ohio was a territory and the pioneers were pulling their way into the western part of Virginia and portions of Kentucky, the Indians who witnessed their encroachments on their lands with anger, determined to keep the long knives as they termed the whites, south of the Ohio river at any cost; and bands of them were constantly on the watch to catch and kill the whites as they came with their pack horses loaded with their household effects. Their families mostly on foot accompanied them. They also came by river in flat boats on which they had their goods both household and farming. They also had their boat partitioned off; one part reserved for their cow and horse. The better class came in boats and were considered rich prey by the Indians.
It was one of these boats to which was attributed the story of the battle in which the Indian was wounded, and whose skeleton was found some years after in the cave.
The boat, a large one, some ninety feet long and twenty-four feet wide, with two families comprising 20 in all, 12 males and 8 females, with their furniture and stock. One of the men was a blacksmith and also made guns.
They had left what is now Pittsburg where the whites had a fort and were slowly making their way down the Ohio river keeping a sharp lookout for the presence of the wily savage. They were on their way to Kentucky of whose rich lands they had heard from the scouts and hunters who had been there. They had reached and passed the great Kanawha river at whose mouth they expected to find Indians, but had been permitted to pass without molestation, although they afterwards learned that the Indians had been concealed at the mouth of the river and were persuaded by their chief to await a better time further down the river.
When they had reached the mouth of the Guyan river they were fired upon by the Indians who had reached there first, going by land which was not so far. Several of the pioneers were wounded but they pulled their boat to the opposite shore and were out of reach of the balls. The rifles of the Indians could not send a ball across the Ohio river. The Indians, as soon as the boat was out of reach ceased firing, and as the day was almost gone, the whites were very anxious to get away from so dangerous a locality for they were afraid that during the night the Indians would attack them in canoes.
They held a council and decided that during the darkest part of the night that they would row their boat back to the Virginia side and tie up and await events knowing that the Indians would cross over to the Ohio side of the river in order to surprise them. So as quickly and noiselessly as possible they rowed across and fastened their boat and with rifles in hand awaited morning. The savages sure enough did cross over and went down the bank of the river searching for the boat, but after going several miles and not finding it, concluded that they had been fooled, went back up the river and reached the spot directly opposite where the boat was, as the first indications of day began to show in the East.
They soon discovered the boat and a volley was fired but the balls fell short and they soon quit firing. On the boat was a rifle which the blacksmith had made especially to shoot a long distance and as the Indians showed themselves fearlessly dancing and jumping about, making insulting gestures, he thought he would try what his gun would do, and taking sure aim at one of the Indians, who seemed to be more insulting than the balance, he fired. The Indian was seen to clasp his hand on his breast, totter and fall. Several of his companions ran to him and he was picked up and carried out of sight. The Indians vanished as quickly as possible on perceiving that the whites had a gun that would kill so far and did not show themselves again. Along towards noon, a band of Wayne’s men came to the rescue of the whites and drove the Indians away, and the supposition was that the wounded or dead Indian was placed or crawled into the cave and his bones were not found for many years after.
The boat under the protection of Wayne proceeded on her way and finally reached what is now Maysville, Kentucky where they landed and made their homes near the fort at that place. G.
Ironton Register, Thursday, July 15, 1875
INTERESTING PIONEER NOTES
Bounty lands were granted to the hardy officers and soldiers of Virginia, who had been engaged in the Revolutionary war on Continental establishment. To satisfy these, when action was had in the Virginia Legislature, a large tract of country lying between the Green and Cumberland rivers, in the Kentucky territory, was reserved for those holding warrants.
On December 17, 1783, the officers thus entitled to lands met, and deputed superintendents of locations in behalf of their respective lines, and also nominated two principal surveyors.
Maj. Gen. Charles Scott, Brig. Gen. Daniel Morgan, Col. A. M. Heth, Lieut. Col. Benjamin Temple, and Capt. Mayo Carrington, on part of the Continental troops of Virginia, made a contract with Richard Clough Anderson, of Virginia, father of our father, Larz Anderson, and ex-Gov. Charles Anderson, of Ohio, who had been elected principal surveyor to locate their warrants, at ten shillings per acre, all other expenses to be paid by the officers.
1784, 20th July, Col. Anderson opened his office at “Soldiers’ Retreat,” in the limits of the present city of Louisville. Here was his office of Entries and Surveys, and the first entry made in it was that for land at the mouth of Cumberland by William Brown, and the site of the present Smithland.
The State of Virginia did not relinquish claim to lands on the northwest bank of the Ohio river until March, 1784, when in apprehension that the wide domain south of the river would not be sufficient to supply her soldiers, Virginia reserved for their use, if needed, all the country lying between the Little Miami and Scioto rivers, to satisfy such Continental warrants, and this is known as the Virginia Military District of Ohio.
Major John O’Bannon and Arthur Fox, Surveyors in Kentucky, came over early in 1787, and explored the river front, and up the Miami and Scioto rivers. Now this is bringing us to the first settlement of this domain, now the rich and cultivated State of Ohio.
On the 1st of August, 1787, Col. R. C. Anderson opened the office for entries in Ohio, and the first entry recorded was for 1,000 acres, to Warrant No. 386, in behalf of Wace & Clements, at the mouth of Eagle Creek, and bottoms on these rivers were taken up at once.
In July, 1788, Congress passed an act, having now organized the Northwest Territory, making these entries invalid, and parties, however impatient, had to hold back until August, 1790, when Congress allowed entries to be made.
In 1790, Cincinnati, having become the seat of justice of Hamilton county, and Fort Washington being an important military protection to the neighborhood, Massie rallied a band of Kentuckians and repaired to an island twelve miles above Maysville, and built block-houses and cleared corn-fields at Manchester, in Adams county.
In 1793, he attempted a surveying tour on the Scioto, depending mainly on a brave young soldier of Harmar’s expedition, the since well-known Governor Duncan McArthur. Several efforts were made, but rendered unsuccessful by the Indians, until the Indians were brought to terms of peace in 1795, by the bold and successful Anthony Wayne.
Col. Massie, having thorough knowledge of the fertile lands on Penn Creek, and having made entries of his warrants, sought to secure settlers from Kentucky.
There were many of the congregation of Presbyterians of Caneridge and Concord in Bourbon county, under Rev. Robert W. Finley, who determined to buy land in a free State, and they joined Massie’s party. Finley, in the first place, liberated his slaves, and then wrote to Massie for an interview as to selection and purchase of a new home.
In December, 1794, Finley wrote to his friends in Western Pennsylvania, and a day was agreed on for all interested to meet at the Manchester settlement. In March, 1795, sixty men met, according to appointment.
It was even yet not secure for this expedition, and the party met again in 1796, and consisted of the following named persons:
Joseph McCoy, Benjamin and Wm. Rodgers, David Shelby, Jas. Harrod, Henry Bazil, Reuben Abrams, Wm. Jamison, Jas. Crawford, Samuel Anthony, Robt. Smith, Thos. Dick, Wm. and Jas. Kerr, Geo. and Jas. Kilgour, John Brown, Samuel and Robert Templeton, Ferguson Moore, Wm. Nicholson, and the worthy, afterward the well-known, Methodist missionary and itinerant, Jas. B. Finley.
In 1797, Thos. Worthington, of Jefferson county, Va., had emancipated his slaves and visited this infant settlement. He returned, appointed by Gen. Rufus Putnam, Assistant Surveyor, and built the first frame house in Chillicothe. This was in February, 1798.�Edward Tiffin, of Berkely county, his brother-in-law, with his emancipated slaves; Joseph Tiffin, Joseph Yates, a millwright; George Haynes, a blacksmith.
The Pioneer Presbyterian was the Rev. Wm. Speer, of Pennsylvania, who wore a cocked hat, and had a small congregation to worship in a log house. Dr. Tiffin was a local Methodist preacher. Joseph, his brother, had a store, was Postmaster, and his tavern had a sign full length of General Anthony Wayne.
Ironton Register, Thursday, June 11, 1896
FOUR WEEKS IN A BLOCK HOUSE
(by John G. Wilson)
For the Register.
In the early settlement of the western part of Virginia now called West Virginia, the settlers built themselves a bullet proof house, out of hewn logs, about forty feet square, surrounded by a stockade and a deep ditch. Holes were cut to shoot from and a chimney was built with fireplace for cooking purposes. The roof was covered with heavy timber and that covered with dirt to make it fireproof. This kind of a house was called a block house. The door was made double thick so as to resist the rifle bullet, a well was dug within the stockade, so as to have water available for themselves and stock when besieged by the Indians.
The story as it was related to me happened in the month of May. The settlers had been warned by the scouts and hunters that the Indians on the Miamis were preparing for a foray against the whites and for them to keep strict watch. The men went to work in the field with their rifles strapped on their backs, ever on the alert, expecting at every moment to hear the crack of the rifle and the warwhoop of the savage. Their wives kept their little values packed ready to flee to the harbor of safety, the block house, where they had taken corn, bacon, and bedding, everything they could spare, knowing that when the attack came, there would be no time to gather up only what could be caught up in a moment.
On one bright day about 9 o’clock in the morning, the attack came. The men were plowing, with their rifles strapped to their backs, when with the crack, crack of many guns and the appalling warwhoop of the savage, several of the settlers fell dead or wounded. They were all in one field helping their neighbors whose corn was the best. The survivors unstrapped their guns and commenced firing at the approaching savages, who were coming on with tomahawk in hand. As the bullets of the whites began to tell on their numbers, dropping one here and another there, they turned and ran to the nearest trees where they loaded their guns. The whites preceded by their wives who at the first alarm had grasped their young children and whatever else they could carry, had made haste to the block house and were safe within its sheltering folds.
My narrator said that his mother gathered him under one arm, and the bed in the other, made her way safely to the block house. He was about two years old and, of course, tells the story as it was related to him by his mother. His father escaped without harm and with those who were not hurt, and helped the wounded, keeping the Indians at bay until they were all safe. A laughable incident transpired, during the retreat to the block house. A Yankee fresh from New England, had his rifle knocked from his hand by a ball, and there was no time to stop to pick it up, and when he entered the fort, the first thing he said to his wife who was looking for him, with many fears that he was either killed or wounded, was much relived to hear him call out, “Nine pound ten gone, Betty.” He alluded to the loss of his gun which had cost him 9 pounds and 10 shillings, English money. The Indians, as soon as they saw that the whites had escaped, proceeded to scalp the dead, kill all the horses and cattle they did not want to take away with them, and then laid siege to the block house. They placed their men on every side, and fired volley after volley at the port holes, but no one inside were hurt, and the bullets rattled harmless against the stout oak logs.
The men in the block house took turn on watching, and whenever a savage showed himself, a bullet was sent in his direction, and being good marksmen they seldom missed. The women attended to the wounded, cooked, moulded bullets and did all in their power to help their husbands, fathers and brothers. Fortunately they had a well inside of the stockade which afforded them plenty of water, but they did not have as much provisions as they should have had and many an ominous shake of the head told what the one was thinking; but they were stout of heart and were inured to danger in all its forms, and in case of scant rations, it was only to buckle the belt tighter and endure; but the women and the little ones, there was the rub! And when night came on and most of them were asleep, the oldest of that little company held a council of war Indian fashion, and one after another spoke giving in low tones his idea of what to do. Several of them had been in the Indian war with Wayne and Harrison and having lived most of their lives on the border were well versed in all the wiles of the red men. When each had spoken they agreed on the following.
They were to defend the fort to the last extremity, but before the food was entirely gone, two of the strongest and swiftest runners were to be let out at the gate, about midnight, during a storm if possible, and they were to — G.
(Continued next week.)
Ironton Register, Thursday, June 18, 1896
FOUR WEEKS IN A BLOCK HOUSE
(by John G. Wilson)
For the Register.
In my letter of last week, the beleaguered whites had concluded to let two of their number out at the gate, of a dark stormy night, and they were instructed to get past the Indian pickets, not to fire their guns until every other means had been tried, but trust to their knives and tomahawks, which they carried as the Indians did.
The siege went on day after day; the Indians receiving reinforcements which the whites could tell by their cries and they doubled their pickets, which made them more careless, thinking that their overwhelming numbers would deter the whites from trying to make any attempt to send out scouts. The whites judged that there were about 200 Indians around the block house and their hearts sank within them but only for a moment. One evening on the third week, of the siege, a dark cloud was seen gathering in the west, and the mutterings of distant thunder indicated an approaching storm. The two men who were chosen were as different as men could possibly be. One who we will call Graham was a perfect giant in stature and strength. He stood 6 feet in his moccasins, straight as an arrow, and was very fast on foot. The Indians called him Bounding Elk. He had brown hair and blue eyes; he was about 30 years old and unmarried.
The other man, named Rawlings, was about 60 of French Canadian stock. He was of a dark saturnine color, which with suntan and smoke made him almost as dark as a negro. He was rather undersized but compactly built and was as wiry as a panther. His whole life had been spent on the border, and most of the time in battle with the Indians. He had lost his father and mother in an Indian raid, and was captured by them when a boy, and was captive for six years when he escaped and swore eternal vengeance against the red man. The Indians called him Eagle Eye on account of his remarkable skill with the rifle. He and Graham were inseparable and hunted, trapped and fought Indians together for years.
Such were the two on which the hopes of the inmates of the block houses rested; and they were well chosen, for to the courage of the lion was added the cunning of the fox; tireless, used to face the elements in every form, they and only they could make their way through the hostile lines.
But now the storm is on with all its fury, the wind howling and the rain pouring down in sheets, with many a whispered admonition to proceed to the nearest military garrison and secure aid for them, the gate was silently opened and the two men disappeared in the darkness. The gate was shut and securely fastened; then they waited with anxious hearts fearful that those who had just gone out would become prey to the wily savage. But no sound was heard but the fierce rush of the storm. So, with silent prayer for the safety of their friends they wrapped themselves in their blankets to sleep, leaving only the watch on guard.
When the morning came, an unusual bustle among the Indians showed that something had taken place, which they were very much enraged at. They became bold especially, those who had lately come, and approaching too near and exposing themselves, were shot down by the ever watchful guards. Their yells of rage filled the woods and they shot volley after volley at the block house. Their chiefs could be seen in council and runners were sent off in different directions whether for reinforcements or in chase of the two scouts, those within the block house could not tell; but it was evident that something unusual had happened by the stir. Towards noon, an Indian was seen approaching the block house with a white rag, obtained from some of the cabins, before they were given to the flames. He was unarmed and his object was to have a talk. The guards were told to cover him with their rifles and shoot the moment treachery was discovered. The gate was opened and one of the oldest settlers was let out to hear what he had to say. The Indian came slowly forward until he was about 100 feet from the block house, when he stopped and beckoned for the white man to approach which he did, keeping watchful eye on the woods behind the savage. When he came in speaking distance, the Indian said “how do?” He could speak a little broken English, and for that reason was chosen to act as ambassador. The white man nodded; then the Indian wanted to know if they would not surrender, promising to let them all go free, if the block house was surrendered. This was the import of his broken language, which was peremptorily refused, and the man turned to go towards the block house, when he was fired upon by Indians who had crawled up to some stumps, during the night before, and lay concealed until the parley, was over. But in their eagerness to kill the old settler, they forgot about their envoy and left him to his fate. The settler was slightly wounded but succeeded in reaching the door which was opened quickly for him. The Indian was killed instantly. He had hardly moved around before death came. A half dozen of the watchers had fired upon him and he was riddled with their bullets. The Indians raised a great yell then all was still. G.
Continued next week.
Ironton Register, Thursday, June 25, 1896
FOUR WEEKS IN A BLOCK HOUSE
(by John G. Wilson)
For the Register.
We will now follow the fortunes of the two scouts who were let out to seek for succor.
The night was dark and the storm was on in all its fury and it was some minutes before they could get their bearings, but they proceeded cautiously keeping their hands on their weapons ready for anything that might develop. They groped their way step by step in the fashion of the savage, one behind the other, putting the foot down in the track made by his contemporary so as to make but one imprint. After going about 100 yards Graham, who was in the lead, touched his friend and they both stopped and listened with all the acuteness of the border scout. Peering into the darkness, just ahead of them they heard a savage accost one of the pickets with the command to keep strict watch. He passed on and now the trial came. Whispering to his friend to stay where he was, Graham prostrated himself and commenced to crawl towards the unsuspecting sentinel. When within a few feet of him, with a bound like the panther he was upon him, sinking his tomahawk into his brain, killing him instantly. Without a groan or cry the man was dead. Graham listened for a minute and then uttered a low whistle which brought his friend to his side. They held a whispering talk for a few moments, knowing that they had some time before the change of sentinels. “We had better keep on in this direction,” said Graham, “and cut our way through the sentinels as we come to them. It may be that we may not come across any more.” “I doubt that,” said Rawlings, “they are more apt to have more on the other side of their encampment; but let us on. The storm will soon be over and our chances for escape will be less.”
They proceeded as silently as possible, first dragging the dead body into a thicket so when it was discovered that he was not at his post it would take some time to find him. They had gone about 50 yards when they met a prowling dog, which either belonged to the Indians or the settlers, they could not tell, for the Indians rarely took their dogs with them on a foray. The dog commenced to growl, then to bark. Graham tried to get it close enough to kill it with his tomahawk, but it eluded him and soon raised the whole camp by its barking and running after them. With many curses on the dog the two scouts took to their heels and ran in the direction of the woods. They had to go through a part of the camp and saw the inmates as they came out of their wigwams wondering what caused the racket. With all speed they made their way for about one fourth of a mile, when they encountered a party of hunters, who belated by the storm were just getting into camp.
They were laden with game and the surprise was mutual. Graham and Rawlings fired instantly each killing their man, and bounding into the forest disappeared, followed by 50 Indians. After running about one half a mile they divided, Graham taking the right and Rawlings the left, where he came to a small creek into which he plunged, knowing that water leaves no trail. He waded down stream so that the mud stirred up by his feet would go with him. He went down stream about one half mile, when he discovered a cave into which he crawled and concealed himself behind a rock and awaited developments. There we will leave him, to follow the fortunes of Graham.
The main body of the Indians followed him, for they had recognized him by the flash of the guns and the exclamation of the Bounding Elk and their eagerness to make their redoubted foe their captive saved his life. They forbore firing on him and trusted to their number and fleetness, but after running for a mile or so they found that he was well named, for their swiftest runners could not keep him in sight, and he used every artifice known to hide his trail, such as wading in the small streams, cutting grape vines at the root and catching hold swinging himself some 40 feet and then letting go, which caused his pursuers a great deal of trouble. After following him until noon next day and losing the trail they gave it up. Graham proceeded to the Fort at Boonesborough, where he enlisted the services of a company of soldiers and was soon on his way back to the aid of his friends.
We will now go back to the block house and see how they are getting along. After the killing of the Indian who had endeavored to get his comrades into the block house by strategy, there had been but little change. The watch was kept up and the food was more carefully doled out, less being given to each one. On the 5th day after the scouts had been let out, they discovered quite a commotion amongst the Indians, and soon firing was heard, and the Indians could be seen concentrating their forces on the side away from the block house. “The scouts have brought help” was the cry which ran from lip to lip, and their hopes arose. The firing grew more rapid and soon the regular volley made by drilled men was heard and the Indians commenced to slowly retreat. Then the soldiers could be seen under Wayne driving the red men with the bayonet, and soon the cheers of the victorious whites were heard as the Indians were forced into a regular stampede. The door of the block house was thrown open and those who were able went forth and did what they could, but their enfeebled frames were not strong enough for active pursuit. They recovered some of their horses and cattle, also quite a lot of their household goods, which the Indians had in their tents. The two scouts, for as soon as the firing began Rawlings came out of his cave, joined in the pursuit. Wayne and his forces stayed for a day or two and then went back to his camp. G.
Ironton Register, Thursday, August 13, 1896
HOW WAYNE’S SENTINELS WERE KILLED
(by John G. Wilson)
No. 57 For the Register.
It was during the Indian war, on the waters of the Miami river, where the occurrence took place, as it was related to me by one of my ancestors. The Indians had declared war against the whites. General Wayne had been ordered with 500 soldiers to the relief and defense of that portion of Ohio. He had made his camp in a bend on the Miami river. The bend was of horse shoe shape and the river ran almost around his camp. He chose this position for two reasons, one was that he would have an abudance of water which was of vital necessity to his men. The other was that having water on three sides, he would not have to build a stockade only on one side, guarding the river front with sentinels. He had sent out scouts in different directions and was impatiently awaiting their return. He was pacing to and fro in front of his headquarters, a large log hut erected in the center of the enclosed space. The stars and stripes waved gallantly from a pole fastened to one end of the hut. A sentry passed to and fro keeping his eyes fixed on his hasty-tempered commander. All at once he stopped, and calling to a corporal who was just passing, ordered him to go to the gate and see if none of his scouts had returned. The general passed into his hut and continued his walk inside. After a few minutes he sat down to a table, on which was writing material; also a tolerably fair map of the surrounding country. Wayne at that time was in the prime of manhood: determination was written on every feature of his countenance; his eye bespoke a quick and a hasty temper; he well deserved the appellation of Mad Anthony, which his soldiers gave him; while the red men called him “the man who never sleeps” and they dreaded him worse than any of their foes. It was in the fall of the year, about the middle of October, and the General was anxious to bring the war to a close, by a decisive victory over the Indians, before the winter began. The officer sent to the gate had reported that none of the scouts had returned.
The general sat up late in hopes that one of his scouts would come but finally becoming sleepy he wrapped himself in his blanket and was soon fast asleep. About the breaking of day he was aroused by the sentry rapping on the door and upon opening the same, he was confronted by the officer whose duty it was to go and relieve the sentries. He was evidently deeply disturbed for his countenance showed terror, anxiety and consternation. “What is the matter,” the General said with impatience manifested in his voice. Another sentry found dead on his post was the reply. “Good heavens” said the General “are all my men to be killed in that manner? How did it occur?” He was found dead with an arrow sticking in his heart and his musket and cartridge box gone. He was also scalped. The man was dismissed and the general sat down to think over the tragedy. This makes five sentinels killed in that manner, in the last month, he said, talking to himself and something must be done. The man was found killed near the bank of the river and no traces of footsteps could be found, only the deadly arrow was left to tell how the deed was done.
Wayne was in a dilemma. The men were getting afraid of that particular post and what to do was the question. When the time to change sentries at night, the one selected, burst into tears and said he was a married man, had a wife and children, and that it was rushing into certain death to go on that fatal post. It was reported to the General and his orders were peremptory; no one would be excused and the poor soldier was almost frantic, when one of his comrades volunteered to take his place. He said when spoken to about his generosity, that he was a single man and that he was not afraid and was willing to take the risk. At nightfall he took his post and soon was walking to and fro with every faculty on the alert. His watch ended at midnight. About eleven o’clock, he saw the head of an Indian rise slowly above the bank of the river not 30 yards from him. It was a cloudy night, but the moon was about half full; and occasionally he could see. He raised his rifle, for he had exchanged his musket with the consent of his officer for a rifle. The Indian perceiving him quickly withdrew his head. He was the more watchful, but nothing occurred for some time, but a hog as he supposed it to be was discovered under the beech trees, which bordered the bank, rooting among the leaves evidently in search of nuts. He watched the hog which went back and forth, when he made the startling discovery that it was gradually getting nearer. His hair almost raised on his head and he wondered if there was not something more than a hog in the strange animal which was turning up the leaves, but always keeping in the densest shadow. He finally made up his mind that hog or Indian, he would shoot, so taking deliberate aim he fired. The camp was aroused; the drums beat the long roll; and the soldiers with Wayne at their head, came rushing pelmell to see what was the matter. The sentinel could only tell what he had done and pointed to a dark mass under one of the beech trees. A soldier ran to it, turning it over, discovered an Indian sewed up in a bear skin, with a bow and arrow in his hands. He was dead. The fatal bullet had penetrated the brain, killing him instantly. In his belt were the tomahawk and scalping knife. The mysterious murders of the sentinels were made plain. The Indian disguised in a bear skin and personating a hog had crept up by degrees to the careless sentinel and sent an arrow into his heart. Then the scalp was removed, the musket taken and the wily savage withdrew to tell his comrades how he had taken another scalp of the hated whites. Great was the rejoicing in the camp of Wayne at the killing of their mysterious foe. The soldier was promoted to be a corporal. One of the scouts arrived in the morning and brought news which enabled Wayne to make an attack and win a complete victory over his red foes. G.
Ironton Register, Thursday, May 20, 1858
THE PERILS OF THE BORDER
While reading recently an account of the frightful massacre of several white families by the Black-foot Indians, we were reminded of a thrilling event which occurred in the “Wild West,” a short time subsequent to the Revolution, in which a highly accomplished young lady, the daughter of a distinguished officer of the American army, played an important part. The story being of a most thrilling nature, and exhibiting in a striking manner the “Perils of the Border,” we have concluded to give an extract from it, as originally published as follows:
The angle on the right bank of the Great Kanawha formed by its junction with the Ohio, is called Point Pleasant, and is a place of historical note. Here, on the 10th of October, 1774, during what is known as Lord Dunmore’s War, was fought one of the fiercest and most desperate battles that ever took place between the Virginians and their forest foes.
After the battle in question, in which the Indians were defeated with great loss, a fort was here erected by the victors, which became a post of great importance throughout the sanguinary scenes of strife which almost immediately followed, and which in this section of the country were continued for many years after that establishment of peace which acknowledged the United Colonies of America a free and independent nation.
At the landing of the fort, on the day our story opens, was fastened a flat boat of the kind used by the early navigators of the Western rivers. Upon the deck of this boat, at the moment we present the scene to the reader, stood five individuals, alike engaged in watching a group of persons, mostly females, who were slowly approaching the landing. Of these five, one was a stout, sleek negro, in partial livery, and evidently a house or body servant; three were boatmen and borderers, as indicated by their rough, bronzed visages and coarse attire; but the fifth was a young man, some two and twenty years of age, of a fine commanding person, and a clear, open, intelligent countenance; and in the lofty carriage of his head – in the gleam of his large, bright hazel eye – there was something which denoted one of superior mind; but as we shall have occasion in the course of our narrative to fully set forth who and what Eugene Fairfax was, we will leave him for the present, and turn to the approaching group, whom he seemed to be regarding with lively interest.”
Of this group, composed of a middle-aged man and four females, with a black female servant following some five or six paces in the rear, there was one whom the most casual eye would have singled out and rested upon with pleasure. The lady in question, was apparently about twenty years of age, of a slender and graceful figure, and of that peculiar cast of feature, which, besides being beautiful in every lineament, rarely fails to affect the beholder with something like a charm.
Her traveling costume – a fine brown habit, high in the neck, buttoned closely over the bosom and coming down to her small pretty feet, without trailing on the ground – was both neat and becoming; and with her riding cap and its waving ostrich plume, set gaily above her flowing curls, her appearance contrasted forcibly with the rough, unpolished looks of those of her sex beside her, with their linsey bedgowns, scarlet flannel petticoats, and bleached linen caps.
“Oh, Blanche,” said one of the more venerable of her female companions, pursuing a conversation which had been maintained since quitting the open fort behind them, “I cannot bear to let you go; for it just seems to me as if something were going to happen to you, and when I feel that way, something generally does happen.”
“Well, aunt,” returned Blanche, with a light laugh, “I do not doubt in the least that something will happen – for I expect one of these days to reach my dear father and blessed mother, and give them such an embrace as is due from a dutiful daughter to her parents – and that will be something that has not happened for two long years at least.”
“But I don’t mean that, Blanche,” returned the other, somewhat petulantly; “and you just laugh like a gay and thoughtless girl, when you ought to be serious. Because you have come thus far, through a partially settled country, you think, perhaps, your own pretty face will ward off danger in the more perilous wilderness – but I warn you that a fearful journey is before you! Scarce a boat descends the Ohio, that does not encounter more or less peril from the savages that prowl along either shore; and some of them that go down freighted with human life, are heard of no more, and none ever return to tell the tale.”
“But why repeat this to me, dear aunt,” returned Blanche, with a more serious air, “when you know it is my destiny, either good or bad to attempt the voyage? My parents have sent for me to join them in their new home, it is my duty to go to them, be the peril what it may.”
“You never did know what it was to fear!” pursued the good woman, rather proudly. – “No,’ she repeated, turning to the others, “Blanche Bertrand never did know what it was to fear, I believe!”
“Just like her father!” joined in the husband of the matron, the brother of Blanche’s mother, the commander of the station, and the middle-aged gentleman mentioned as one of the party; “a true daughter of a true soldier. Her father, Colonel Philip Bertrand, God bless him for a true heart! Never did seem to know what it was to fear – and Blanche is just like him.”
By this time the parties had reached the boat; and the young man already described – Eugene Fairfax, the secretary of Blanche’s father – at once stepped forward, and, in a polite and deferential manner, offered his hand to the different females, to assist them on board. The hand of Blanche was the last to touch his – and then but slightly, as she sprung quickly and lightly to the deck – but a close observer might have detected that slight flush which mantled his noble, expressive features as his eye for a single instant met hers. She might herself have seen it – perhaps she did – but here was no corresponding glow on her own bright, pretty face as she inquired, in the calm, dignified tone of one having the right to put the question, and who might also have been aware of the inequality of position between herself and him she addressed:
“Eugene, is everything prepared for our departure? It will not do for our boat to spring a leak again, as it did coming down the Kanawha – for it will not be safe for us, I am told to touch either shore between the different forts and trading posts on our route, this side of our destination – the Falls of the Ohio.”
“No, indeed!” rejoined her aunt, quickly; “it will be as much as your lives are worth to venture a foot from the main current of the Ohio – for news reached us only the other day, that many boats had been attacked this spring, and several lost, with all on board.”
“No one feels more concerned about the safe passage of Miss Bertrand than myself,” replied Eugene, in a deferential tone; “and since our arrival here, I have left nothing undone that I though might have possibly add to her security and comfort.”
“That is true, to my personal knowledge,” joined in the uncle of Blanche; “and I thank you, Mr. Fairfax, in behalf of my fair kinswoman. “There will, perhaps,” he pursued, “be no great danger, so long as you keep in the current; but your watch must not be neglected for a single moment, either night or day; and do not, I most solemnly charge and warn you, under any circumstances, or on any pretense whatsoever, suffer yourselves to be decoyed to either shore!”
I hope we understand our duty better, Colonel,” said one of the men, respectfully. “I doubt it not,” replied the commander of the Point; “I believe you are all faithful and true men or you would not have been selected by the agent of Colonel Bertrand, for taking down more precious freight than you ever carried before; but still the wisest and the best of men have lost their lives by giving ear to the most earnest appeals of humanity. – You understand what I mean? White men, apparently in the greatest distress, will hail your boat, represent themselves as having just escaped from the Indians, and beg of you for the love of God, in the most piteous tones, to come to their relief; but turn a deaf ear to them – to each and all of them – even should you know the pleaders to be of your own kin; for in such a case your own brother might deceive you – not willfully and voluntarily perhaps – but because of being goaded on by the savages, themselves concealed. Yes, such things have been known as one friend being thus used to lure another to his destruction; and so be cautious, vigilant, brave and true, and may the good God keep you all from harm!”
As he finished speaking, Blanche proceeded to take an affectionate leave of all, receiving many a tender message for her parents from those who held them in love and veneration; and the boat swung out, and began to float down with the current, now fairly entered upon the most dangerous portion of a long and perilous journey.
The father of Blanche, Colonel Philip Bertrand, was a native of Virginia, and a descendant of one of the Huguenot refugees, who fled from their native land after the revocation of the edict of Nantz in 1665. He had been an officer of some note during the Revolution – a warm political and personal friend of the author of the Declaration of Independence – and a gentleman who had always stood high in the esteem of his associates & contemporaries.
Though at one time a man of wealth, Colonel Bertrand had lost much, and suffered much, through British invasion; and when, shortly after the close of the war, he had met with a few more serious reverses, he had been fain to accept a grant of land, near the Falls of the Ohio, now Louisville, tendered him by Virginia, which then held jurisdiction over the entire territory now constituting the State of Kentucky.
The grant had decided the Colonel upon seeking his new possessions and building up a new home in the then Far West, and as his wife had insisted upon accompanying on his first tour, he had assented to her desire, on condition that Blanche should be left among her friends, till such time as a place could be prepared which might in some degree be considered a fit abode for one so carefully and tenderly reared.
Blanche would gladly have gone with her parents; but on this point her father had been inexorable – declaring that she would have to remain at the East till he should see proper to send for her; and as he was a man of positive character, and a rigid disciplinarian, the matter had been settled without argument.
When Colonel Bertrand removed to the West, Eugene Fairfax, as we have seen, accompanied him; and coming of age shortly after, he had accepted the liberal offer of his noble benefactor, to remain with him the capacity of private secretary and confidential agent. On taking possession of his grant, the Colonel had almost immediately erected a fort, and offered such inducements to settlers as to speedily collect around him quite a little community – of which, as a matter of course, he became the head and chief; and to supply the wants of his own family and others, and increase his gains in a legitimate way, he had opened a store, and filled it with goods from the Eastern marts, which goods were transported by land over the mountains to the Kanawha, and thence by water to the Falls of the Ohio, whence their removal to Fort Bertrand became an easy matter. To purchase and ship these goods, and deliver a package of letters to friends in the East, Eugene had been thrice dispatched – his third commission also extending to the escorting of the beautiful heiress, with her servants, to her new home. This last commission had been so far executed at the time chosen for the opening of our story, as to bring the different parties to the mouth of the great Kanawha, whence the reader has seen them slowly floating off upon the still, glassy bosom of “the belle of rivers.”
The day, which was an auspicious one, passed without anything occurring worthy of not, until near four o’clock, when as Blanche was standing on the fore part of the deck gazing at the lovely scene which surrounded her, she saw a seemingly flying body suddenly leave a limb of a gigantic tree, (whose mighty branches extended far over the river, and near which the boat was then swayed by the action of the current), and alight with a crush upon the deck of the boat, not more than eight fee from her. One glance sufficed to show her what the object was, and to freeze the blood in her veins. The glowing eyes of a huge panther met her gaze. The suddenness of the shock which this gave her was overpowering. With a deafening shriek she fell upon her knees and clasped her hands before her breast. The panther crouched for his deadly leap, but ere he sprang, the hunting knife of Eugene Fairfax (who, with the steersman, was the only person on deck besides Blanche), was buried to the hilt in his side, inflicting a severe but not fatal wound. The infuriated beast at once turned upon Eugene, and a deadly struggle ensued. But it was a short one. The polished blade of the knife played back and forth like lightening flashes, and at every plunge it was buried to the hilt in the panther’s body, who soon fell to the deck, dragging the dauntless Eugene with him. On seeing her protector fall, Blanche uttered another shriek and rushed to his aid; but assistance from stouter arms was at hand. The boatmen gathered round, and the savage monster was literally hacked in pieces with their knives and hatchets, and Eugene, covered with blood, was dragged from under his carcass. Supposing him to be dead or mortally wounded, Blanche threw her arms around his neck and gave way to a passionate burst of grief. But he was not dead – he was not even hurt, with the exception of a few slight scratches. The blood with which he was covered was the panther’s, not his own. But Blanche’s embrace was his – a priceless treasure – an index of her heart’s emotions and affections. It was to color his whole future life, as will be seen in the progress of our story.
Slowly and silently, save the occasional creak, dip and splash of the steerman’s oar, the boat of our voyagers was borne along upon the bosom of the current on the third night of the voyage. The hour was waxing late, and Eugene, the only one astir except the watch, was suddenly startled, by a rough hand being placed upon his shoulder, accompanied by the words, in the gruff voice of the boatman:
“I say, Cap’n, here’s trouble!”
“What is it, Dick?” inquired Eugene, starting to his feet.
“Don’t you see thar’s a heavy fog rising, that’ll soon kiver us up so thick that we won’t be able to tell a white man from a nigger?” replied the boatman – Dick Winter by name, a tall, bony, muscular, athletic specimen of his class.
“Good heaven! so there is!” exclaimed Eugene, looking off upon the already misty waters. “It must have gathered very suddenly for all was clear a minute ago. What is to be done now? This is something I was not prepared for, on such a night as this.”
“It looks troublous, Cap’n, I’ll allow,” returned Dick; “but we’re in for’t, that’s sartin, and I s’pose we’ll have to make the best on’t’
“But what is to be done? – what do you advise?” asked Eugene, in a quick, excited tone, that indicated some degree of alarm.
“Why, ef you war’nt so skeered about the young lady, and it warn’t so dead agin the orders from head quarters, my plan would be a clear and easy one – I’d just run over to the Kaintuck shore, and tie up.”
“No sir,” said Eugene, positively; “that will never do, Dick – that will never do! I wen’d not think of such thing for a moment! We must keep in the current by all means!”
“Ef you can,” rejoined the boatman; “but when it gits so dark as we can’t tell one thing from the other, it’ll be powerful hard to do; and ef we’d n’ run agin a bar or bank a’fore morning, in spite of the best of us, it’ll be the luckiest go that ever I had a hand in. See, Cap’n – it’s thickening up fast; we can’t see eyther bank at all, nor the water nyther; the stars is gettin’ dim, and it looks as if thar war a cloud all round us.”
“I see! I see! Returned Eugene, excitedly. “M_____ Heaven! I hop no accident will befall us here – and yet my heart almost misgives me! – for this, I believe, is the most dangerous part of our journey – the vicinity where most of our boats have been captured by the savages.”
Saying this, Eugene hastened below, where he found the other boatmen sleeping so soundly as to require considerable effort, on his part, to wake them. At last, getting them fairly roused, he informed them, almost in a whisper, for he did not care to disturb the others, that heavy fog had suddenly arisen, and he wished their presence on deck, immediately.
“A fog, Cap’n!” exclaimed one, in a tone which indicated that he comprehended the peril with the word.
“Hush!” returned Eugene; “there is no necessity for waking the others, and having a scene. Up! And follow me, without a word!”
He glided back to the deck, and was almost immediately joined by the boatmen, to whom he briefly made known his hopes and fears.
They thought, like their companion, that the boat would be safest if made fast to an overhanging limb of the Kentucky shore; but frankly admitted that this could not now be done without difficulty and danger, and that there was a possibility of keeping the current.
“Then make that possibility a certainty, and it shall be the best nights work you ever performed!” rejoined Eugene, in a quick, excited tone.
“We’ll do the best we can Cap’n,’ was the response; “but no man can be sartin of the current of this here crooked stream in a foggy night.”
A long silence followed – the voyagers slowly drifting down through a misty darkness impenetrable to the eye – when, suddenly, our young commander, who was standing near the bow, felt the extended branch of an overhanging limb silently brush his face. He started, with an exclamation of alarm, and at the same moment the boatman on the right called out:
“Quick, here, boys! We’re agin the shore, as sure as death!”
Then followed a scene of hurried and anxious confusion, the voices of three boatmen mingling together in loud, quick, excited tones.
“Push of the bow!” cried one.
“Quick! Altogether, now! Over with her!” shouted another.
“The de’il’s in it! She’s running aground here on a muddy botton!” almost yelled a third.
Meantime the laden boat was brushing along against projecting bushes and overreaching limbs, and every moment getting more and more entangled; while the long poles and sweeps of the boatmen, as they attempted to push her off, were often plunged, without touching bottom, into what appeared to be a soft, clayey mud, from which they were only extricated by such an outlay of strength as tended still more to draw the clumsy craft upon the bank they wished to avoid. At length, scarcely more than a minute from the first alarm, there was a kind of settling together, as it were, and the boat became fast and immovable.
The fact was announced by Dick Winter, in his characteristic manner – who added, with an oath, that it was just what he expected. – For a moment or two a dead silence followed, as if each comprehended that the matter was one to be viewed in a serious light.
“I’ll get over the bow, and try to git the lay of the land with my feet,” said Tom Harris; and forthwith he set about the not very pleasant undertaking.
At this moment Eugene heard his name pronounced by a voice that seldom failed to excite a peculiar emotion to his breast, and now sent a strange thrill through every nerve; and hastening below, he found Blanche, fully dressed, with a light in her hand, standing just outside of her cabin, in the regular passage which led lengthwise through the center of the boat.
“I have heard something, Eugene,” she said, ‘enough to know that we have met with an accident, but not sufficient to fully comprehend its nature.”
“Unfortunately, about two hours ago,” replied Eugene, “we suddenly became involved in a dense fog; and in spite of our every precaution and care, we have run aground – it may be against an island – it is so dark we can’t tell. But be not alarmed, Miss Blanche,” he hurriedly added; “I trust we shall soon be afloat again; though in any event, the darkness is sufficient to conceal us from the savages, even were they in the vicinity.”
“I know little of Indians,” returned Blanche; “but I have always understood that they are somewhat remarkable for their acuteness of hearing; and if such is the case, there would be no necessity of their being very near, to be made acquainted with our locality, judging from the loud voices I heard a few minutes ago.”
“I fear we’ve been rather imprudent,” said Eugene, in a deprecating tone; “but in the excitement —-“
His words were suddenly cut short by several loud voices of alarm from without, followed by a quick and heavy tramping across the deck; and the next moment Seth Harper and Dick Winter burst into the passage, the former exclaiming:
“We’ve run plum into a red nigger’s nest, Cap’n and Tom Harris is already butchered and scalped!”
And even as he spoke, as if in confirmation of his dreadful intelligence, there arose a series of wild, piercing, demoniacal yells, followed by a dead and omnious silence.
So far we have followed the lovely heroine and her friend in this adventure; but the foregoing is all that we can publish in our columns. The balance of the narrative can only be found in the New York Ledger, the great family paper, which can be obtained at all the periodical stores where papers are sold. Remember to ask for the “Ledger,” dated May 22nd, and in it you will get the continuation of the narrative here. If there are no book-stores or news offices convenient to where you reside, the publisher of the Ledger will send you a copy by mail, if you will send him five cents in a letter. Address, Robert Bonner, Ledger Office, 44 Ann street, New York. This story is entitled “Perils of the Border,” and grows more and more interesting as it goes on.