« PreviousContinue »
The citizens of this section of Georgia suffered much from the depredations of the Indians after the Revolutionary War. Stockade forts were constructed in many of the settlements. The murderous tomahawk spared neither men, women, nor children. The following account was furnished by persons well acquainted with the facts :
In 17, there lived upon the banks of Coody's Creek, in the flat woods, in what is now called Elbert County, Mr. Richard Tyner, a poor, though respectable man. During his absence one day, a party of savages attacked his house. They immediately killed Mrs. Tyner. They then seized the youngest child, and dashed out its brains against a tree. Another child they scalped, and left it for dead. A little boy, the son of Mr. Tyner, named Noah, amidst the confusion escaped the notice of the Indians, and crept into a hollow tree, which for many years afterwards was known by the name of Noah's Ark. An elder son of Mr. Tyner fled to the Savannah River, and was pursued by some of the Indians, but he effected his escape. Mary and Tamar, the daughters of Mr. Tyner, the Indians carried off to the Coweta towns. There they remained for several years, when an Indian trader named John Manack purchased Mary, who returned with him to the county of Elbert, and became his wife. When he returned to the Indian nation he offered to purchase Tamar, but the Indians refused to sell her. The main employment of Tamar was to bring wood. Upon a certain occasion, an old Indian woman informed her that her captors, suspecting that she was trying to escape, had resolved to burn her alive. The feelings of the poor girl can be better imagined than described. She determined at all risks to escape. The Indian woman supplied her with provisions and a canoe, accompanied with directions how to proceed down the Chattahoochee River. Bidding adieu to her benefactress, Tamar launched her canoe, and commenced her perilous voyage. During the day she secreted herself amidst the thick swamps of the river, and at night pursued her course. She finally reached Appalachicola Bay, embarked on board of a vessel, and arrived in Savannah. By the assistance of some of the citizens, she was enabled to reach her home in Elbert, where she afterwards married a Mr. Hunt. Many of her descendants are still living, who will youch for the truth of this story.
The following incident, related to the author by a reliable gentleman, is worthy of a place in the annals of Georgia :-
During one of the attacks of the Indians upon the inhabitants of this frontier county, they succeeded in killing a number of persons. On one occasion they took prisoner a small girl about twelve years of age. There was living in the county at the time a man by the name of William Suttle, a gunsmith by trade, who, upon hearing that the savages had gone off with the little girl, determined to pursue them, rescue the captive, or die in the attempt. Providing 'himself with an excellent gun, he started on his generous mission ;, and after a short time, in the middle of the night, came in sight of the party, who were seated around a fire, and noticed the little girl sitting upon the lap of a brawny Indian, who appeared to be much delighted with his prisoner. After a while, the Indian rose, and standing very erect, appeared to be making gestures, when Suttle, who
had been watching a favourable opportunity, fired his gun, and shot the Indian through the heart. In the midst of the alarm consequent upon this sudden attack, the little girl made her way in the direction where she supposed the gun was fired, was received by Suttle, and carried behind him on horseback to her friends.
HISTORY OF NANCY HART. ONE among the most remarkable women that any country has ever produced resided in Elbert. We give our readers various particulars concerning her, derived from conversations which we have had with persons who were acquainted with her, and from notes kindly furnished by the Rev. Mr. Snead, of Baldwin County, Georgia, a connection of the Hart family. We are also under obligations to the Hon. Thomas Hart Benton, to whom we addressed a letter asking for information in regard to the relationship existing between the family of the Harts and himself, who promptly favoured us with all that we desired.
NANCY HART's maiden name was Morgan. She was married to Benjamin Hart, and soon afterwards came to Georgia. Her husband was brother of the celebrated Colonel Thomas Hart, of Kentucky, who married a Miss Gray, of Orange County, North Carolina. This gentleman was the father of the wife of the Hon. Henry Clay, and maternal uncle of the Hon. Thomas Hart Benton. The family of Mr. Snead removing to Georgia, in consequence of the relationship between them and the Harts, Aunt Nancy, as she was usually called, came to see them. Mr. Snead says he well remembers her appearance, and many anecdotes related of her. He describes her pretty much as she is made to appear in the Yorkville sketch below, but says she was positively not cross-eyed. He represents her as being about six feet high, very muscular, and erect in her gait ; her hair light brown, slightly sprinkled with gray when he last saw her, being at that time about sixty years of age. From long indulgence in violent passion, her countenance was liable, from trivial causes, to sudden changes. In dwelling upon the hardships of the Revolution, the perfidy of the Tories, and her frequent adventures with them, she never failed to become much excited.
Among the anecdotes remembered by Mr. Snead is the following :
On one evening, she was at home with her children, sitting round the log fire, with a large pot of soap boiling over the fire. Nancy was busy stirring the soap and entertaining her family with the latest news of the war.
The houses in those days were all built of logs, as well as the chimneys. While they were thus employed, one of the family discovered some one from the outside peeping through the crevices of the chimney, and gave a silent intimation of it to Nancy. She rattled away with more and more spirit, now giving exaggerated accounts of the discomfiture of the Tories, and again stirring the boiling soap, and watching the place indicated for a reappearance of the spy. Sud. some fihompsona from his
denly, with the quickness of lightning, she dashed the ladle of boiling soap through the crevice full in the face of the eavesdropper, who, taken by surprise, and blinded by the hot soap, screamed and roared at a tremendous rate, whilst the indomitable Nancy went out, amused herself at his expense, and, with gibes and taunts, bound him fast as her prisoner.
Soon after the close of the Revolution, she removed with her family to Georgia, and settled at Brunswick, then a frontier place. She was the mother of six sons, Morgan, John, Ben, Thomas, Mark, Lemuel, and two daughters, Sally and Reziah. Her eldest daughter, Sally, married a man by the name of Thompson, who partook largely of the qualities of Mrs. Hart. Sally and her husband followed Mrs. Hart to Georgia several years afterwards. Upon their journey, a most unfortunate affair occurred. In passing through Burke County, they camped for the night on the roadside. Next morning, a white man who was employed as a wagoner, on being ordered by Thompson, in a peremptory manner, to do some particular thing, returned rather an insolent answer, and refused. Thompson, enraged, seized a sword, and with a single blow severed his head from his body. He then with apparent unconcern mounted the team, and drove on himself until he came to the first house, where he stopped and told the inmates he had “just cut a fellow's head off at the camp, and they had best go down and bury him!” He then drove on, but was pursued and taken back to Waynesborough, and confined in jail. This brought the heroic Nancy to the up-country again. She went to Waynesborough several times, and in a few days after her appearance thereabouts, Thompson's prison was one morning found open, and he gone!
Mrs. Hart, speaking of the occurrence, said rather exultingly, 6. That's the way with them all. Drat'em, when they get into trouble, they always send for me!”
Not long after their removal, Nancy lost her husband. But after paying suitable respect to his memory, she consoled herself, like most other good wives who have the luck, by marrying a young man, with whom she lifted up her stakes, and, in the language of the annexed sketch, set out among the earliest pioneers for the “wilds of the West."
The following sketch of this extraordinary woman, which originally appeared in the Yorkville (S. C.) Pioneer, is believed to be the first account of her that ever found its way to the public:
NANCY HART and her husband settled before the Revolutionary War a few miles above the ford on Broad River, in Elbert County, Georgia. An apple orchard still remains to point out the spot.
In altitude, Mrs. Hart was a Patagonian, and remarkably welllimbed and muscular. In a word, she was “lofty and sour.” Marked by nature with prominent features, circumstances and accident added, perhaps, not a little to her peculiarities. She was horribly cross-eyed, as well as cross-grained; but, nevertheless, she was a