|Let us welcome, then, the strangers,|
|Hail them as our friends and brothers,|
|And the heart's right hand of friendship|
|Give them when they come to see us,|
|Gitche Manito, the Mighty,|
|Said this to me in my vision.|
H. W. LONGFELLOW, "Hiawatha."
|Friendship was in their looks, but in their hearts there was hatred.|
|Straight there arose from the forest the awful sound of the war-whoop,|
|And, like a flurry of snow in the whistling wind of December,|
|Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of feathery arrows;|
|Then came a cloud of smoke, and out of the cloud came the lightning,|
|Out of the lightning thunder, and death unseen ran before it.|
LONGFELLOW, "Courtship of Miles Standish."
It was remarked in the last chapter that, while Judge SYMMES was detained with his party at Limestone, he had repeated information from Major STITES, then just getting settled in his block-houses and cabins at Columbia, that Indians had come in to see him (STITES) and share his hospitality, and that they had expressed a strong desire to see the great man of the Miami Purchase and make a peace compact with their new white brethren. This information was evidently considered important by the pioneer Columbian, since he dispatched two messengers on foot, in the inclement days of early December, to make their way for sixty miles along the banks of the Ohio, to convey his tidings to the leader still tarrying at Limestone. SYMMES not appearing, and the Indians continuing their visits and beginning to express some impatience at his delay, another message was sent to him, which, as we have seen, had the effect of hastening his departure with the colony for the settlement contemplated near the mouth of the Great Miami. Before his expedition set out, however, he, remembering, perhaps, the great example of PENN in his dealings with the Indians, prepared and dispatched the following unique proclamation or letter to the red men of the Miamis:
Brothers of the Wyandots and Shawanees: Hearken to your brother, who is coming to live at the Great Miami. He was on the Great Miami last summer, while the deer was yet red, and met with one of your camps; he did no harm to anything which you had in your camp; he held back two young men from hurting you or your horses, and would not let them take your skins or meat, though your brothers were very hungry. All this he did because he was your brother, and would live in peace with the red people. If the red people will live in friendship with him and his young men, who came from the great salt ocean, to plant corn and build cabins on the land between the Great and Little Miami, then the white and red people shall all be brothers and live together, and we will buy your furs and skins, and sell you blankets and rifles, and powder and lead and rum, and everything that our red brothers may want in hunting and in their towns.
Brothers! a treaty is holding at Muskingum. Great men from the thirteen fires are there, to meet the chiefs and head men of all the nations of the red people. May the Great Spirit direct all their councils for peace. But the great men and the wise men of the red and white people cannot keep peace and friendship long, unless we, who are their sons and warriors, will also bury the hatchet and live in peace.
Brothers! I send you a string of beads, and write to you with my own hand, that you may believe what I say. I am your brother, and will be kind to you while you remain in peace. Farewell!
What was the immediate effect of this epistle upon the aboriginal mind has not been recorded; but a few months afterwards a white man, Mr. Isaac FREEMAN, going in from the Maumee towns with several captives released by the Indians, was charged in reply with the delivery of the following address to Judge SYMMES:
Now, Americans! Brothers! we have heard from you, and are glad to hear the good speech you sent us. You have got our flesh and blood among you, and we have got yours among us, and we are glad to hear that you wish to exchange. We really think you want to exchange, and that is the reason we listen to you.
As the Great Spirit has put your flesh and blood into our hands, we now deliver them up.
We warriors, if we can, wish to make peace, and our chiefs and yours will then listen to one another. As we warriors speak from our hearts, we hope you do so too, and, wish you may be of one mind, as we are.
Brothers, Warriors - when we heard from you that you wished to exchange prisoners, we listened attentively, and now we send some, as all are not here nor can be procured at present, and therefore we hope you will send all ours home; and when we see them, it will make us strong to send all yours, which cannot now all be got together.
Brothers, Warriors - when we say this, it is from our hearts, and we hope you do the same; but if our young men should do anything wrong before we all meet together, we beg you to overlook it. This is the mind of us warriors, and our chiefs are glad there is hope of peace. We hope, therefore, that you are of the same mind.
Brothers, Warriors - it is the warriors who have shut the path which your chiefs and ours formerly laid open; but there is hope that the path will soon be cleared, that our women and children may go where they wish in peace, and that yours may do the same.
Now, Brothers, Warriors - you have heard from us: we hope you will be strong like us, and we hope there will be nothing but peace and friendship between you and us.
In explanation of a part
of this missive it should be said that SYMMES held at North Bend ten
women and children, who had been left with him by Colonel Robert
as captives taken in a raid from Kentucky to the Indian towns, to be
for whites when the opportunity should offer. FREEMAN had been sent by
SYMMES to the Maumee, with a young Indian for interpreter, to arrange
exchanges. Subsequently, while under a flag of truce approaching the
on a friendly mission, FREEMAN was fired upon and killed.
The reference of Judge SYMMES' letter to his visit to the Great Miami the preceding "summer" seems rather to refer to his tour of exploration in that valley in the early fall, thus mentioned in a letter of his dated October, 1788: "On the twenty-second ultimo I landed at Miami, and explored the country as high as the upper side of the fifth range of townships." About forty miles inland, at some point on the Great Miami, his party came upon a small camp of the savages, so small that they could easily have destroyed it and its inhabitants. In his company were a number of Kentuckians, who had accompanied Colonel PATTERSON and the surveyor FILSON, two of the projectors of Losantiville, in the "blazing" of a road, through the forest from Lexington to the mouth of the Licking, as one of the preliminary steps to the proposed settlement opposite that point, and had incited him to make the exploration by promising him their escort until it was finished. These men, sharing the inveterate hostility of their people to the red man, desired
hostilities between the Indians and the whites of the Purchase, the
of the sons of the forest toward Judge SYMMES personally appears to
been kind and friendly - perhaps in memory, if not of his proclamation
or letter, yet of his restraint of the Kentuckians when some of their
were threatened with pillage and murder, and of his subsequent kindness
to them. He does not appear ever to have been attacked or otherwise
by them in his own person or property; and nearly seven years
at the negotiation of the treaty of Greenville, some of the Indians
there told him that they had often been on the point of shooting him,
had recognized him in time to save his life. Nevertheless the
and hospitable judge was sorely tried and troubled by their hostility
his settlers on the Purchase --- a feeling which early developed in
and bloody deeds. The traditions of the region were those of inveterate
warfare and hatred between the races. Only ten years before SYMMES'
at North Bend, Colonels BOWMAN and LOGAN had led a hundred and sixty
up between the rivers against the Shawnee towns on the Little Miami,
the present limits of Greene county, in retaliation for atrocities
by the Indians in Kentucky shortly before, and had experienced some
fighting. The Indians pursued them to the mouth of the Little Miami,
they recrossed the Ohio on their homeward march. The next year after
expedition the redoubtable George Rogers CLARK headed a troop of a
Kentuckians against the Little Miami and Mad river towns, and destroyed
the Indian village at Piqua and much corn of the growing crops of the
It is said that after crossing the Ohio at the mouth of the Licking, on
their northward march, they built two block-houses on the present site
of Cincinnati, and that the force was disbanded there on their return,
In a letter from North Bend, January 17, 1792, SYMMES
A considerable number of these stations, more or less strongly fortified, are known to have existed within the present limits of the county during the period of Indian warfare; and it is quite possible that the memory of others has disappeared. So far as known, they were as follows:
1. COVALT's Station, at Round Bottom, twelve miles up the Little Miami, below the present site of Milford. This was erected in 1789, and Mr. John G. OLDEN, author of Historical Sketches and Early Reminiscences of Lockland and Reading, is disposed to place it first in chronological order, although similar claims have been made for CLEMENS', GERARD's, DUNLAP's, and LUDLOW's stations.
2. CLEMENS' station, also on the Round Bottom, about half a mile below COVALT's.
3. GERARD and MARTIN's station, on the west side of the Little Miami, and about two miles from its mouth, near the present Union bridge.
4. DUNLAP's station, established in the early spring of 1790, in Colerain township, on the east side of the Great Miami and in the remarkable bend of that stream which begins about half a mile south of the county line.
5. CAMPBELL's station, also on the east bank of the Great Miami and in Colerain township, opposite the present site of Miamitown.
6. LUDLOW's station, whose site is now embraced within the limits of Cincinnati, about five miles from Fountain square, in the north part of Cumminsville. It was also established in the spring of 1790. This was the most famous of all the stations.
7. WHITE's station, probably established in 1792, on the bank of Mill creek, northeast of the present site of Carthage, near the aqueduct, and about where the ice-pond now is.
8. TUCKER's station, on section four, Springfield township, east of the old Hamilton road and about a mile and a half northwest of Lockland.
9. RUNYAN's station, also of 1792, on section nineteen, Sycamore township, about a mile and a half north of Sharonville, and near the present county line. This was the outpost in that direction.
10. GRIFFIN's station, established, probably, in the fall of 1793, about half a mile west of WHITE's station, where the Carthage and Springfield turnpike now crosses Mill creek.
11. VOORHEES' station, in the south part of section thirty-three, Sycamore township, on the west bank of Mill creek, built early in 1794.
12. Pleasant Valley station, on the line between sections four and ten, Springfield township, near the "Station Spring." Also built in the spring of 1794, by the builders of TUCKER's station, to protect them and another party which had moved in to the westward.
13. MCFARLAND's station, in Columbia township, near the site of Pleasant Ridge, established in the spring of 1795, and believed to be the last founded of the pioneer stations in this county.
Some of these stations were the scene of fierce Indian attacks, and others of cowardly murders by the savages. Their story will be more particularly related in the histories of the townships. In 1794-5 Mr. Benjamin VAN CLEVE, then of Cincinnati, but soon afterwards of Dayton, made many interesting memoranda of affairs in the Miami country, among which we find the following, made in the latter year:
On the twentieth [of August], seventeen days after the treaty [of Greenville], Governor. ST. CLAIR, General WILKINSON, Jonathan DAYTON, and Israel LUDLOW contracted with John Cleves SYMMES for the purchase and settlement of the seventh and eighth ranges, between Mad River and Little Miami. One settlement was to be at the mouth of Mad River, one on the Little Miami in the seventh range, and one on Mad River above the mouth.
Two parties of surveyors set off [from Cincinnati] on the twenty-first of September - Mr. Daniel C. COOPER, to survey and mark a road and cut out some of the brush, and Captain John DUNLAP to run the boundaries of the Purchase. I went with DUNLAP. There were at this time several stations on Mill Creek: LUDLOW's, WHITE's, TUCKER's, VOORHEES's, and CUNNINGHAM'.1 The last was eleven miles from Cincinnati. We came to VOORHEES's and encamped.
A limited number of regulars was stationed at several of these by General HARMAR or his subordinate officers. All together they afforded protection and food to a large number of pioneer families, who must otherwise have been driven out of the country. They were of use elsewhere among the early settlements, as well as for local defence, and the pioneers in other parts of southern Ohio were less annoyed, after their establishment, because the Indians had to spend a part of their time in watching the stations, instead of taking the war-path against the scattered and isolated settlers. They regarded these defences, indeed, with peculiar disfavor. Judge BURNET accompanies an interesting paragraph upon the stations, in his Notes, with these remarks:
The Indians viewed these stations with great jealousy, as they had the appearance of permanent military establishments, intended to retain possession of their country. In that view they were correct; and it was fortunate for the settlers that they wanted either the skill or the means of demolishing them. The truth is, they had no idea of the flood of emigration which was setting towards their borders, and did not feel the necessity of submitting to the loss to which immediate action would subject them. Their great error consisted in permitting those works to be constructed at all. They might have prevented it with great ease, but they appeared not to be aware of the serious consequences which were to result, until it was too late to act with effect. Several attacks were, however, made at different times, with an apparent determination to destroy them; but they failed in every instance.
Shortly after the permanent location of Judge SYMMES upon the Purchase, he had the honor to entertain, in his rude shelter at North Bend, a Shawnee chief bearing the English piratical name of "Captain BLACKBEARD," who lived some scores of miles to the northward, near Roche de Boeuf, on the Maumee river. The Judge has left the following entertaining account of the interview:
The chief (the others sitting around him) wished to be informed how far I was supported by the United States, and whether the thirteen fires (States) had sent me hither. I answered in the affirmative, and spread before them the thirteen stripes which I had in a flag then in my camp. I pointed to the troops in their uniform, then on parade, and informed the chief that those were the warriors which the thirteen fires kept in constant pay to avenge their quarrels, and that, though the United States were desirous of peace, yet they were able to chastise any aggressor who should dare offend them, and to demonstrate this I showed them the seal of my commission, on which the American arms are impressed, observing that while the eagle had a branch of a tree as an emblem of peace in one claw, she had strong and sharp arrows in the other, which denoted her power to punish her enemies. The chief, who observed the device on the seal with great attention, replied to the interpreter that he could not perceive any intimation of peace from the attitude the eagle was in, having her wings spread as in flight, when folding of the wings denoted rest and peace; that he could not understand how the branch of a tree could be considered a pacific emblem, for rods designed for correction were always taken from the boughs of trees; that to him the eagle appeared, from her bearing a large whip in one hand and such a number of arrows in the other, and in full career of flight, to be wholly bent on war and mischief. I need not repeat here my arguments to convince him of his mistake, but I at length succeeded, and he appeared entirely satisfied of the friendship of Congelis (for so they pronounce Congress) to the red people.
Captain BLACKBEARD staid
a month or so in the neighborhood of Judge SYMMES, with whom be had
friendly conferences; and whose hospitality he accepted, especially
it took the form of whiskey, without reservation or stint.
subsequent martial events, some of which must have come very near to
lodge on the Maumee, BLACKBEARD seems to have remained friendly to the
whites, and long afterward he repaid with interest the kindness and
he had received from SYMMES by requitals to Judge BURNET and other
and federal officials on their way through the wilderness from
to attend the courts in Detroit.
Much of the promise of the
Indians to them, however, was to be broken to the hope. Their expressed
friendliness was undoubtedly, in some cases, used to mask treachery.
more than two months after the departure of BLACKBEARD, namely, on the
ninth day of April, 1789, one of SYMMES' exploring parties was fired
by the savages while leaving its camp, and two of its number - a man
HOLMAN, from Kentucky, and Mr. WELLS, from Delaware - were instantly
John MILLS and three others, staying not to fight the foe and standing
not upon the order of their going, escaped to the settlements2.
A straggler into the forest from the villages had now and then also
picked off, and on the twenty-first of May an attack was made in some
from the Ohio shore upon a boat-load of settlers whom Ensign LUCE, the
officer then stationed at North Bend, was escorting with a detachment
his men from that place up the river to South Bend. The boat was not
with its precious freight; but by the fire one of the soldiers---
a New Jersey recruit - was killed, and four others of the troops were
MILLS, also a Jerseyman, who had escaped the previous disaster, was now
among the wounded, being shot through the lungs; but was taken in hand
by friendly squaws and cured without much difficulty. One of the
William MONTGOMERY, of Kentucky - was also hurt, and so badly as to be
sent to Louisville for treatment. The affair created intense excitement
and fear at North Bend, where the garrison was now felt to be utterly
and SYMMES, in an indignant letter to DAYTON bitterly renews his
of the neglect of the commanders to send him troops enough for
He says: "We are in three defenceless villages along the banks of the
and since the misfortune of yesterday many citizens have embarked and
to Louisville; and others are preparing to follow them soon; so that I
fear I shall be nearly, stripped of settlers and left with one dozen
only. KEARSEY's leaving the Purchase in the manner he did, ruined me
several weeks." Five days later he writes: "I believe that fifty
of all ages have left this place since the disaster of the
The settlers consider themselves as neglected by the Government. We are
really distressed here for the want of troops," About this time the
and angry Kentuckians, before mentioned, began to designate the
as "a slaughter-house," from the danger of massacre they really had
reason for representing as existing there.
At this time the settlers
at Losantiville and Columbia were tilling their in lots, as well as
with firearms at their elbows and sentinels carefully posted. Weeks
the pacificatory letter of the Indians at " Mawme" to SYMMES, it became
evident that, as soon as they could prepare for serious inroads, the
would show their thorough-going antagonism to the new settlements being
planted upon the Ohio, whatever their verbal or written words might be.
The most alarming reports were brought in by Mr. Isaac FREEMAN, who had
penetrated the Indian country on an errand from SYMMES, and had
in safety and with several released captives, and also the olive-branch
missive from "Mawme," but, writes the Judge, he "brings such terrifying
accounts of the warlike preparations making at the Indian towns, that
has raised fresh commotions in this village, and many families are
to go down to the Falls" [Louisville]. British influence was busy in
up the Indians to acts of hostility. In the same letter SYMMES writes:
While Mr. FREEMAN was at the Indian towns he was lodged at the
Confirmation of these reports
was received about the same time from two widely separated points at
east and west, from Vincennes and from Pittsburgh.
We can find in Mr. FREEMAN's account one reason at least why the infant settlements along the Ohio were for so many months spared from Indian outrage, conflagration, and general massacre. Individual cases of capture, maiming, or murder were not wanting, however Judge SYMMES writes, January 1, 1790: "We have already had a man murdered by the Indians within the squares of the city." This may refer to the case of a young son of John HILLIERS, a settler at the Bend, who had gone out on the morning of the twelfth of December next previous, to drive home the cows, and, when scarcely half a mile from the block-house, was tomahawked and scalped, and his gun and hat were carried off. On the seventeenth of the same month two young men from the settlement, James LAFFERTY and Andrew VANEMAN, hunting along the river, were surprised by Indians while sitting at night by their camp-fire, and were both killed at the first shot. Their bodies were then. stripped of clothes, and tomahawked and scalped in the most barbarous manner. A letter from Judge SYMMES, written in May following, referring to matters at North Bend, says: "Things were prosperous, considering the mischief done there this spring by the Indians. They plant considerable corn, though much more would have been planted if no mischief had been done. Many fled on those occasions - two men have been killed. The Indians are universally hostile, and the contrary opinion is ill-founded."
On the other side of the Purchase, the settlers at Columbia were greatly troubled after the depredations and attacks once began, which was not until nearly a year after the founding of the colony. In time too soon, however, the dreaded blows fell. Among the cultivators of the soil to whom Major STITES had leased the rich clearing known as Turkey Bottom was one James SEWARD, who occupied a lot upon it for his daily labor, but had his residence on the hillside near the village. Two sons of his, Obadiah and John, aged respectively twenty-one and fifteen years, were at work in this field one afternoon, September 20, 1789, when they were surprised by a small party of Indians, at a hickory tree which had been felled for nuts, whose bushy top gave the savages an excellent opportunity for concealment and stealthy approach. Obadiah gave himself up at once, and was securely bound by withes or twigs; but the other ran for his life, in a circuitous course towards home. The Indians easily gained upon him, however, and one of them hurled his tomahawk at the boy with such force as to cleave his skull immediately behind the right ear. He dropped in his tracks, and, when overtaken an instant later, was again tomahawked and was then scalped. His mangled form was not found until the next morning, when John CLAWSON, one of the pitying neighbors who gathered around, carried it on his back to the bereaved home. Strange to say, young SEWARD was not yet dead, though unconscious, and in his delirium, as his clothing and the surroundings showed, he had dragged himself round and round upon his knees. He actually survived the terrible injury for thirty-nine days, his senses returning to him, and even cheerfulness and good spirits, so that he was able to give a correct and detailed account of the affair. Obadiah was for some time unheard from; but a captive returning at length from the Indian country brought word that he had been killed by a bloodthirsty and drunken Indian, simply for taking the wrong fork of a trail. The young man, it is said, had long cherished a presentiment that he should perish at the hands of the savages. The doubly bereaved father afterwards removed to Springdale, where he suffered the loss of another son by the fall of a tree.
The captive just mentioned was Ned LARKIN, an employe of Mr. John PHILLIPS who was seized and taken by the Indians the same day the young SEWARDS were attacked. He was alone in the field at the time, cutting and binding cornstalks for fodder, and was bound and marched through the wilderness to Detroit, where his captors sold him to a French trader. By this man, who seems to have had a heart in his bosom, LARKIN was liberated not long after, and with other released captives made his way to Pittsburgh, whence he found conveyance down the river to Columbia.
In 1790 there were further outrages by the Indians at this place. At one time the families, of whom there were several, located on that part of the face of the hill afterwards called Morristown, lost all their clothes hung out to dry. A party of the thieving redskins being suspected, was pursued, the property found in their possession and partially recovered; but they had already destroyed the coverlets to make belts. James NEWELL, one of the most valued of the early settlers of Columbia, also lost his life by the red hand of Indian murder - at just what date we have not ascertained.
One of the most interesting incidents of the Indian period in Hamilton county occurred July 7, 1792, on the river between Cincinnati and Columbia, and about four miles from the present Broadway, then Eastern Row. It was the custom of boats on the river, both large and small, to hug pretty closely the Kentucky side, as being the safer from Indian attack; but a canoe which left Cincinnati for Columbia on the afternoon of the day named had neglected this precaution, and was proceeding up what was designated, from its perils, as the "Indian shore." It contained one lady, Mrs. COLEMAN, wife of a settler at Columbia, two men named CLAYTON and LIGHT, and another whose name has not been preserved, and a
The settlers at Columbia became exceedingly hostile to the red men, and with reason, as these narratives show. Their labors were greatly interrupted by the constant necessity for the exercise of vigilance against the onset of the wily foe. For a time they had to work and watch in equal divisions, as many as one-half standing guard, while the other half labored, the divisions being exchanged in the morning and afternoon. Their annoyances, and the outrages from which they suffered, bore their natural fruit in an intense and abiding desire for revenge. On the principle, we suppose that the devil must be fought with fire, they even adopted some of the Indian methods. Colonel WHITTLESEY, of Cleveland, contributes this corroborative paragraph in one of his valuable historical pamphlets:
In 1844 I spent an evening with Benjamin STITES, jr., of Madisonville, Ohio, the son of Benjamin STITES, who settled at Columbia, near Cincinnati, in 1788. Benjamin, junior, was then a boy, but soon grew to be a woodsman and an Indian fighter. Going over the incidents of the pioneer days, he said the settlers of Columbia agreed to pay thirty dollars in trade for every Indian scalp. He related an instance of man who received a mare for a scalp, under this arrangement. The frontier men of those times spoke of "hunting Indians," as they would of hunting wolves, bears, or any other wild animal. I met another old man who then lived near Covington, on the Kentucky side of the Ohio, who said he had often gone alone up the valley of the Miami on a hunt for scalps. With most of these Indian hunters the bounty was a minor consideration. The hatred of the red man was a much stronger motive.
A tradition goes that on one occasion a reeking scalp, just torn from the head of an Indian, was brought on the Sabbath into or near the house of God in Columbia, breaking up the meeting and sending the inhabitants home to prepare against an attack from the savages.
The settlers of Cincinnati of course shared the general peril. Some fifteen or twenty of them were killed by the Indians in the one year 1790. Not only was it necessary to post sentinels when at work in the out-lots or improving the town property, but rifles were carried to service by the congregation of the First Presbyterian church, whose place of meeting was close by where the same society worships now, near the corner of Main and Fourth streets. A fine of seventy-five cents was imposed upon male attendants neglecting this precaution; and it is said to have been actually inflicted upon Colonel John S. WALLACE, noted hunter and Indian fighter of those days, and perhaps upon others.
In 1790 the road from Cincinnati eastward crossed the mouth of the water-course near the then eastern limits of the town, as noted in the account of the adventure to Mrs. COLEMAN. At the point of crossing there was a dense forest of maple and beech, with tangled grape-vines and a heavy undergrowth of spicewood. Mr. Jacob WETZEL, of the village, had a successful day of hunting, October 7th, of that year, and on his way home to get a horse with which to bring in his heavier spoils, sat down here upon a decayed tree-trunk to rest. He shortly heard a rustling in the woods; his dog pricked up his ears, growled, and a moment afterwards barked loudly as he saw an Indian presenting his rifle from behind a large oak tree. WETZEL caught sight of him at the same instant, and, springing behind another tree, both fired together. He received the Indian's fire unharmed, and succeeded in wounding his enemy's left elbow. Before the Indian could reload, WETZEL took the offensive and charged upon him with his hunting knife, and the Indian drew his to defend himself . The conflict that ensued was sharp and desperate, a life-or- death struggle. The white man made the first blow as he rushed, but the red one parried it, knocking the other's knife from his hand to a distance of thirty feet or more. Nothing daunted, WETZEL seized him with a vice-like grasp about the body, holding down and tightly against it the arm with the knife. In the struggle both were thrown, but the Indian got uppermost and was about to use his knife with deadly effect, when the dog sprang at his throat with such a savage attack as made him drop the weapon, which WETZEL seized and instantly stabbed his antagonist to the heart. The Indian so far had maintained the contest on his side alone; but after
The savages were also making
mischief this year on the other side of the river, in the interior.
SYMMES wrote the last of April:
The Indians are beyond measure troublesome throughout Kentucky. They have destroyed Major DOUGHTY and a party of troops on the Tennessee. If the President knew of half the murders they commit, he surely would rouse in indignation and dash those barbarians to some other clime.
After the defeat of General
HARMAR in two actions by the Indians, in October, they grew bolder, but
still made no concerted attacks upon the settlements on the SYMMES
until January, when DUNLAP's station was attacked, as will be presently
narrated. November 4th the judge writes:
The strokes our army has got seem to fall like a blight upon the prospect, and for the present seem to appall every countenance. I confess that, as to myself, I do not apprehend that we shall be in a worse situation with regard to the Indians than before the repulse. What the Indians could do before, they did, and they now have about one hundred less of their warriors to annoy us with than they had before the two actions; besides, it will give them some employment this winter to build up new cabins and repair by hunting the loss of their corn.
The settlers at them [the stations] are very much alarmed at their situation, though I do not think that the houses will be attacked at those stations; yet I am much concerned for the safety of the men while at work, hunting, and travelling.
Judge SYMMES did not divine with his usual prescience in this case. Scarcely more than two months had passed after this deliverance before the Indians appeared in force but a few miles from his home and made a desperate attack upon one of his stations. On the eighth of January, 1791, Colonel John S. WALLACE, of Cincinnati, lately mentioned in this chapter, together with Abner HUNT, who was a surveyor, John STOANE, and a Mr. CUNNINGHAM, engaged in exploring the country, fell in with, this war-party, or a detachment of it, somewhere on the west bank of the Great Miami, where the whites had encamped the night before. When setting out that morning to explore the bottoms above their camp, towards Colerain, or DUNLAP's station, they had got but about seventy yards away when they were assailed by savages from the rear, an ambuscade having evidently been prepared for them. CUNNINGHAM was shot down instantly; HUNT was violently dismounted by the fright of his horse, and made prisoner; and SLOANE was shot through the body, but managed to keep his feet and effect his escape. WALLACE also dashed off, but on foot, and was followed by two Indians, when he overtook SLOANE and mounted HUNT's riderless horse, which had kept along with its companion. Both WALLACE and SLOANE thus escaped safely and uninjured to DUNLAP's station. Colonel WALLACE had a narrow escape, however. He was repeatedly fired upon in his flight, and at the first shot his leggings became loose, the fastenings perhaps cut by the missile, when he tripped and fell. Coolly but rapidly he retied the strings, in time to resume his flight without being overtaken. HUNT's fate was terrible, being that which too often befell the captive among the savages. During a lull in the siege of DUNLAP's station, the third night after the capture, they occupied themselves in the torture of the hapless prisoner. He was prostrated across a log with his legs and arms stretched and fastened in painful positions to the ground; he was scalped, his body agonized by knife-wounds, and the cruel work completed, as one account relates, by building a fire upon his naked abdomen, or, as others have it, by thrusting blazing firebrands into his bowels, which had been exposed by the cutting and slashing to which he had been subjected. In this dreadful situation his remains were found after the Indians had retired, and were taken up decently and buried by the garrison.
The attack on DUNLAP's began in the early morning of January 10th. About five hundred Indians appeared before the stockade, with three hundred more in reserve in the neighborhood, and demanded its surrender, promising the garrison and settlers safety. They are believed to have been led by the notorious white renegade, Simon GIRTY, who was guilty of so many atrocities and barbarities toward the whites, and is said to have died himself, in the centre of a blazing log-heap, where he was placed by a party of avengers, who recognized him long after Indian hostilities had ceased. GIRTY's brother was also in the attacking force, with Blue Jacket and other well-known chiefs. During the parley with KINGSLEY, which lasted two hours, Simon GIRTY was seen holding the rope with which the prisoner's (HUNT's) arms were tied, and sheltered behind a log. Lieutenant KINGSLEY was in command, but had only eighteen regulars, who, with eight or ten armed residents, made but a feeble garrison in point of numbers. Nevertheless the Indian demand was refused and fire was opened by the garrison, being promptly returned by the besiegers. As soon as possible a runner was got off to Fort Washington for reinforcements, and the defence continued to be stoutly maintained. The women in the station kept up the supply of bullets to their defenders by melting spoons and pewter plates and running them into balls; and the fire on both sides was scarcely intermitted for hours. The Indians entirely surrounded the stockade on the land side, their flanks resting on the river; and their fire was hot and distressing. It was kept up until late in the afternoon, when the Indians drew off and during the night put HUNT to the torture in full view of the garrison, between the fort and an ancient work remaining near. The attack was renewed in the evening and maintained in a desultory way until midnight, when the beleagured people again had comparative rest, but no refreshment in their weariness and terror except parched corn, their supply of water being cut off by the merciless foe. The Indians in this attempt set fire to the brush about the station and threw many blazing brands upon the structures within it, but they were happily extinguished before serious mischief was done. Again the Indians came on the next day, but were met with the steady, unrelenting fire of the garrison, and hastily withdrew, probably hastening their retreat from the report of their scouts that relief was
This heroic defence of Colerain against an overwhelming force of savages is one of the most noteworthy incidents in the history of the county. Sometime before the fight David GIBSON and John CRUM, of the station, had been taken prisoners by the Indians, and Thomas LAWISON and William CRUM driven to the stockade, to the imminent danger of their lives. The inhabitants there were kept in a pretty constant state of alarm, and, after the defeat of General ST. CLAIR the following November, the settlers at DUNLAP's, vividly remembering the attack which followed HARMAR's misfortune, and reasonably expecting a similar sequel to ST. CLAIR's, abandoned the station, and were only persuaded to return with considerable difficulty. It was important that this station should be maintained. Judge SYMMES wrote in January, 1792: "Colerain has always been considered the best barrier to all the settlements, and when that place became re-peopled the inhabitants of the other stations became more reconciled to stay."
At North Bend, during the same year, there were fresh attacks by the Indians. In September, 1791, a Mr. FULLER and his son William, employes of John MATSON, sr., were accompanied by MATSON's mother and George CULLUM to a fish-dam that was planted in the Great Miami, about two miles from North Bend. Towards night FULLER sent his son away alone, to take the cows to the settlement, when he disappeared, and was seen no more until after WAYNE's victory, or nearly four years after he was taken by the Indians, when he was restored to his friends by Christopher MILLER, a white man who was among the savages at the time of his capture.
The outrages at Cincinnati were also numerous in 1791. In May of this year Colonel WALLACE, whose misfortune it was to figure considerably in the Indian history of this period, was at work with his father and a small lad, hoeing corn upon the subsequent site of the Cincinnati hospital, while two men named SCOTT and SHEPHERD were plowing corn upon a spot near the corner of Central avenue and Clinton street. To them suddenly appeared five or six Indians, who jumped the fence and raised a yell, whereupon the plowmen took to their heels, and were fortunately not caught by the pursuing savages though they were chased as far as the corner of Fifth and Race streets. Colonel WALLACE may have been forgetful, as before noted, about taking his rifle to church; but he had it with him on this occasion, lying in an adjacent furrow, and telling the rest to escape to town as quietly as possible, snatched it up and fired at an Indian about eighty yards distant, who took himself off at once. The other Indians rode away on the plow-horses at the top of their speed. Contrary to their usual custom, however, they, in the haste of their flight, unintentionally, of course, left something by way of exchange. Light blankets and blanket capotes, a leg of bear meat, a horn of powder, and some other small articles, were the spoils from the raiders; but they hardly made up an equivalent for the horses taken. As soon as the alarm could be given and preparations made, the best foresters and hunters in town started in pursuit, mounting all the horses available, a party going ahead at once on foot. The chase was followed up the Great Miami valley to where Hamilton now stands; but unavailingly, as the Indians had just crossed, and the pursuers were turned back by tremendous rains and floods.
On the twenty-first of the same month Benjamin VAN CLEVE and Joseph CUTLER, while engaged in clearing an out-lot, were fired at, and the latter captured, carried off, and never heard of afterwards. The trail of the party was easily followed, as CUTLER had lost a shoe, and was kept at full run till dark, and resumed the next day; but the Indians got off safely with their captive.
Eleven days after, on the first of June, Mr. VAN CLEVE, again working in his out-lot, with two others, was attacked and pursued. He started first in the retreat; but was stopped an instant by a fallen tree-top, giving an Indian time to seize him. VAN CLEVE threw his assailant, but the savage rose at once and stabbed him, following this by the usual barbarity of scalping. He then took himself out of the way of the two white men who were running some distance in VAN CLEVE's rear, and who found their companion lifeless when they reached the spot. On the same day Sergeant Michael HAHN, of the garrison, with a corporal and a young man from Colerain, taking a cow to DUNLAP's station, the party was attacked soon after starting, within the present limits of the city, and all were killed and scalped.
These are recorded as the last cases of assasination by the red men in Cincinnati; but they continued to prowl about the outlying streets and roads, and sometimes killed cattle; in one case, it is said, an Indian shot his stone-headed arrow clean through the body of an ox. They also stole horses from time to time, and committed other depredations, until Anthony WAYNE instituted his energetic measures for the protection of this region in 1793 and 1794.
In the spring of the latter year, however, John LUDLOW, brother of Colonel Israel LUDLOW, of the station, left his late residence in Cincinnati to return to his farm, near the junction of the old Hamilton road with the hill road to Carthage. An attack had been made on WHITE's station, in the country, which, with a defeat sustained by Lieutenant LOWREY near Eaton, Preble county, had greatly alarmed the Cincinnatians. Mr. WHITE himself was in this party, which was escorted by Colonel LUDLOW and his company of militia. They reached the farm without molestation, and began unloading the wagon with them, while WHITE, mounted on a sick horse, went on toward his station. When he reached a point about two hundred yards from the stream since called Bloody run, he heard rifle-shots, and presently saw four pack-horses where as many whites had been waylaid by the Indians.
One of the saddest incidents of this time occurred while WAYNE's campaign was in progress. Colonel Robert ELLIOTT, a Pennsylvanian born, but a resident of Hagerstown, Maryland, was a contractor for the supply of General WAYNE's army, and was in person superintending the delivery of supplies. While on the way from Fort Hamilton to Cincinnati, on the present Winton road, he was fired upon and killed by the enemy, his servant escaping in safety with both horses. An attempt was made to scalp the Colonel, which, from the absence of his natural capillary covering and the adoption of a substitute, led the Indian attempting it to the exclamation, as is reported in English, "big d--d lie!" Mr. ELLIOTT's body was recovered the next day, put in a box, and started for Cincinnati in one of his own wagons. Near or exactly at the place where the Colonel was shot, the servant, by a singular fatality, received a second fire from the savages, and was this time killed. The escort was stampeded, and the Indians seized the box and broke it, but did not further disturb its contents, though they took away the horses that drew it. An armed party was then detached from Fort Washington, which went out and brought the body in. It was buried in the old Presbyterian cemetery at the corner of Main and Fourth streets, and afterwards removed to the new "God's acre" of that church on Twelfth street. A monument was erected many years after, to commemorate the tragedy, by Commodore ELLIOTT, his son, with an inscription as follows: "In memory of Robert ELLIOTT, slain by a party of Indians near this point, while in the service of his country. Placed by his son, Commodore J. D. ELLIOTT, United States Navy, 1835. Damon and Fidelity."
Several outrages whose history we have found recorded, and doubtless many others so far unnoticed to the writer, occurred during the period of Indian warfare, some of whose dates we are not able to fix with certainty. Judge SYMMES, in April, 1790, notes that a lad had been "captivated" by the Indians a few weeks before at the Mill creek (LUDLOW's) station; but adds: "Otherwise not the smallest mischief has been done to any, except we count the firing by the Indians on our people mischief, for there have been some instances of that, but they did no hurt." Not a great many years ago a large elm might still be seen on one of the roads leading north from the city, about three miles from the old corporation line, behind which a small party of Indians had been concealed, to await the approach on horseback of a man named BAILY, whom they halted, seized, and took prisoner.
At Blue Bank, a locality on, the Great Miami near DUNLAP's station, while Michael HAHN, one of the early settlers of Cincinnati, Martin BURKHARDT and Michael LUTZ, were viewing lots on the second of January, 1792, LUTZ was killed and scalped, and finally stabbed by the Indians. HAHN was shot through the body, but ran for the station, within sight of which the Indians followed him, and there, seeing they were otherwise likely to lose the chance of his scalp, shot a second time and brought him down.. BURKHARDT was shot through the shoulder and took to the river, where he was drowned and his body found near North Bend six weeks subsequently. Thus perished this whole party by Indian massacre.
About two miles below the same station, at a riffle in the Great Miami, a canoe in which John MCNAMARA, Isaac GIBSON, jr., Samuel CARSWELL, and James BARNETT were taking a millstone up the river, was fired upon with mortal effect. MCNAMARA was killed; CARSWELL wounded in the shoulder and GIBSON in the knee, BARNETT alone escaping unhurt.
Elsewhere in the county, at Round Bottom, two settlers named HINKLE and COVALT, while engaged in hewing logs in front of their own cabin, were instantly killed by the barbarians.
An interesting narrative
of the captivity of Israel DONALSON, contributed to the American
for December, 1842, contains a passage which is of some local value,
as illustrating the character of a famous old-time citizen, long since
passed away. DONALSON was captured by the Indians April 22, 1791, while
on a surveying expedition with MASSIE and LYTLE, four miles above
on what was called from that day DONALSON creek, and escaped a few days
afterwards, reaching the Great Miami, and following down HARMAR's trace
until he arrived at what he called "Fort Washington," now Cincinnati.
On Wednesday, the day that I got in, I was so far gone that I thought it entirely useless to make any further exertion, not knowing what distance I was from the river; and I took my station at the root of a tree, but soon got into a state of sleeping, and either dreamt or thought that I should not be loitering away my time, that I should get in that day; which, on reflection, I had not the most distant idea. However the impression was so strong that I got up and walked on some distance. I then took my station again as before, and the same thoughts occupied my mind. I got up and walked on. I had not travelled far before I thought I could see an opening for the river; and getting a little farther on I heard the sound of a bell. I then started and ran, at a slow speed, undoubtedly; a little farther on I began to perceive that I was coming to the river hill, and having got About halfway down, I heard the sound of an axe, which was the sweetest music I had heard for many a day. It was in the extreme out-lot; when I got to the lot I crawled over the fence with difficulty, it being very high. I approached the person very cautiously till within about a chain's length, undiscovered; I then stopped and spoke; the person I spoke to was Mr. William WOODWARD, the founder of the WOODWARD high school. Mr. WOODWARD looked up, hastily cast his eyes round, and saw that I had no deadly weapon; he then spoke: "In the name of God," said he, "who are you?" I told him I had been a prisoner and had made my escape from the Indians. After a few more questions he told me to come to him I did so. Seeing my situation, his fears soon subsided; he told me to sit down on a log and he would go and catch a horse he had in the lot, and take me in. He caught his horse, set me on him, but kept the bridle in his own hand. When we got into the road, people began to enquire of Mr. WOODWARD, "Who is he - an Indian?" I was not surprised nor offended at the enquiries, for I was still in Indian uniform, bareheaded, my hair cut off close, except the scalp and foretop, which they had put up in a piece of tin, with a bunch of turkey feathers; which I could not undo. They had also stripped
The glorious victory of General
WAYNE brought infinite relief to the harassed people. They no longer
with anxiety and fear of Indian outrage. One immediate effect of the
and the treaty of Greenville was the partial abandonment of the river
and the stations, by the desire of the people to settle in the open
August 6, 1795, Judge SYMMES wrote from Cincinnati:
This village is reduced more than one-half in its numbers since I left it to go to Jersey in February, 1793. The people spread themselves into all parts of the Purchase below the military range since the Indian defeat on the twentieth of August, and the cabins are of late deserted by dozens in a street.
Another letter of his the
next year, however, shows that the Indians were again giving trouble,
not very serious this time:
They now begin to crowd in upon us in numbers, and are becoming troublesome. We have but one merchant in this part of the Purchase [North Bend], and he will not buy their deer-skins. The next result is to beg from me; and I was compelled last week to give them upwards of forty dollars value, or send near forty of them away offended.
They must have a market for their skins, or they can purchase, nothing from us. Though we have twenty or more merchants at Cincinnati, not one of them is fond of purchasing deer-skins. Some attention of Government is certainly necessary to this object. Some of our citizens will purchase horses from the Indians. The consequence is that the Indians immediately steal others, for not an Indian will walk if he can steal a horse to ride. I wish it was made penal by Congress to buy horses directly or indirectly from the Indians.
But these annoyances and losses were petty, compared with the awful dangers of the earlier years. The Miami country, though not without occasional alarms, especially during the Indian war of 1811 and the war with Great Britain that began the next year, was thenceforth almost exempt from savage atrocities. "Poor Lo," with the inevitable destiny of his race, was being crowded westward and to eventual extermination.
2 The year before SYMMES came with his colony, about the twentieth of May, a large party of whites, descending the river in three boats was attacked by the Indians a little below the mouth of the Great Miami, and cut off or captured to a man. Samuel PURVIANCE, a prominent citizen of Baltimore, was one of the company, and was never afterwards heard of, though General HARMAR caused a long and careful search to be made for him. It was one of the most terrible and sweeping disasters from Indian attack that ever occurred in the valley of the Ohio.
History of Hamilton Co. Index
Hamilton Co., OHGenWeb
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