Page images

A person familiar with the lives and character of the military veterans of Rome, in the days of her greatest power, might readily have selected this remarkable man, as a specimen of the model he had formed of them, in his own mind; but he was rapidly falling a victim to his extreme sensibility, and to the ingratitude of his native state, under whose banner he had fought bravely and with great suc


The time will certainly come when the enlightened and magnanimous citizens of Louisville, will remember the debt of gratitude they owe the memory of that distinguished man. He was the leader of the pioneers who made the first lodgment on the site now covered by their rich and splendid city. He was its protector during the years of its infancy, and in the period of its greatest danger.

Yet the traveler who has read of his achievementsadmired his character-and visited the theatre of his brilliant deeds, discovers nothing indicating the place where his remains are deposited, and where he can go and pay a tribute of respect to the memory of the departed and gallant hero.


Indian depredations and murders.-Alarm in the Frontier Settlements.-

Letter of Judge Innes to the President.--Other letters of a similar character. Strong hold of the Indians on the Ohio, near the Scioto river.-Inattention of the Government complained of.—Expedition of Gen. Scott.-Indian depredations continued.—Communication from Gov. St. Clair to the commandant at Detroit.—Unsuccessful embassy of M. Gameline, to the Indians.-Increase of the military force. Arrival of troops at Fort Washington.-Inefficient character of the Militia.-Harmar's campaign.-Its success.-And subsequent disasters, denominated a defeat.-Acquitted by Report of Board of Inquiry.-Murder of Hardin and Trueman.—Observations on the Campaign.—List of officers killed.

In March, 1790, General Harmar informed the Secretary of War, that the Indians continued to murder and plunder the inhabitants, and to intercept almost every boat that attempted to pass up or down the Ohio river. About the beginning of that month, they broke up Kenton's station, a few miles from Limestone, where they killed ten or twelve individuals. During the same month, three boats descending the river in company, saw a boat lying at the Indian shore, a short distance above the Scioto river, containing a large party of Indians. The descending boats were, fortunately, near the Virginia shore when the enemy were discovered. On coming opposite to them, a white man, standing at the edge of the water, called, and begged them to surrender, affirming, as the fact was, that the Indians were fifty or sixty in number, and that if resistance should be made, the whole party would be murdered.

The proposition was rejected, of course, on which the Indians commenced a heavy fire, which was continued for some time, without effect, but which gave the descending boats time to pass them. The savages, failing to bring them to, commenced a pursuit; and the Americans, finding they could not save all their boats, selected the strongest, and abandoned the others, which contained a number of horses, and much valuable property. Holes were cut in the sides of the boat they selected, to enable them to increase the number of rowers. The Indians pursued with great effort, some six or eight miles, when they gave up the chase, and the Americans arrived at Limestone, without further molestation. They lost twenty-eight horses, and merchandise valued at £1500, which were left in the abandoned boats.

Buckner Thruston, then a member of the Virginia legislature, was one of the party, and reported the facts to General Harmar. The party consisted of twenty-eight men, a family of females, and some negro women and children. The Indians numbered about sixty, and it was afterwards ascertained that the boat in their possession had been captured by them a day or two before—that it belonged to John May, who, with four others, were made prisoners--not one of whom escaped, to tell their fate. It is presumable, however, that the person who hailed the boats of Mr. Thruston, was one of the unfortunate captives.

It appears from a note written by Governor St. Clair, that in January 1790, the Indians killed three men within twelve miles of Danville, and three others at Carpenter's Station, and that they broke up the settlement at Russel's creek, about forty miles from that place.

About the same time, a party who had been out on a hunt, about six miles below Limestone, were fired on by the Indians, and one of them killed. It so happened, that Major Doughty was then passing down the river, with a detachment of troops, destined for Cincinnati, who, on hearing the firing, landed, and pursued the enemy some distance, but without success. Judge Innes, writing from Danville, on the thirteenth of March, 1790, reported, that in the

month of January, a boat having ten or twelve persons on board, one of them a woman, was captured about fifteen miles above Limestone, and that the boat was afterwards found, containing nine dead bodies, the woman being missing. During that murderous tragedy, a boy, who had been taken prisoner up Licking, when on a hunting excursion with two men, who were killed, made his escape, and came in with the information.

About the same time, three men were killed on the road from Richland to Sinking creek. Old Mr. Sloan and his son, were killed on the head of Rolling fork, and one man was killed on Holin creek. A station on Russel's creek was attacked, on the twenty-fifth of the same month, when Isaac Farris and his son, and John Painter, with another person, whose name was not mentioned, were killed. On the same occasion, a white woman and a negro woman were wounded, and a number of horses carried off. Soon after, a man by the name of Harper, was killed on Slate creek. In addition to these murders, only two others were reported on the Rolling fork, during that month,-one was of a man, the other of a woman;—but the information received from various quarters, indicated very hostile movements in the approaching spring.

A letter addressed to the Hon. John Brown, dated April 4th, 1790, stated that the Indians had made great havoc on the Ohio; that about fifty of them were encamped near the mouth of the Scioto; and that among other depredations, they had captured a periogue, having six men on board, who were ascending the river from Limestone, whom they put to death. They had also captured the boat of John May, who was on board, with a crew of three or four men, all of whom were put to death. About the same time, two other boats were taken,-one of them belonging to emigrating families, the other being the property of Thomas Marshall, and others. The fate of the unfortunate captives in those

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

two boats, was not mentioned, but may be readily conjectured.

On another occasion, the Indians concealed themselves, and sent a white prisoner to the edge of the water to hail a descending boat, and entreat those on board to come to, and take him in, affirming that he had made his escape from the savages, and was in danger of perishing. The stratagem was suspected, and of course did not succeed. At the same time information was received of the taking of a boat on Salt river, and of the murder of the crew, consisting of John Prior and two others, whose names were not given.

In May following, ensign Hartshorne, of the United States' army, descended the river with several boats, and landed in the evening about nine miles above Limestone. At midnight they were attacked with great fury, and one of the boats taken. The night being very dark, and the commandant's boat being hard pressed, he ordered them all to put off, and make the best of their way to Limestone, assuring them that the force of his boat would keep the enemy in check. The order was obeyed, and at three o'clock in the morning they reached Limestone. In the afternoon, a party went up to the place where the attack had been made. The savages had gone, but they found one man, one woman, and three children killed and scalped, whose remains they conveyed to Limestone. The entire loss during the attack, was reported to be thirteen killed and missing.

During the same season, a small party of Indians concealed near a path, leading from Cincinnati to Columbia, discovered a canoe passing up, near the Indian shore, containing two men, a boy and a woman. They attacked the canoe, killed the adults, and took the boy prisoner. He was the only son of Colonel Spencer, of Columbia, who had been a brave, gallant officer in the Revolutionary

« PreviousContinue »