Page images

river, being from the said White river to the Ohio, fifty-three leagues in length, or thereabouts, be the same more or less, with forty leagues in width or breadth on the east side, and thirty leagues in width or breadth on the west side of the Ouabache river aforesaid; (the intermediate space of twentyfour leagues, or thereabouts, between Point Coupee and the mouth of the White river aforesaid, being reserved for the use of the inhabitants of Post St. Vincent aforesaid, with the same width or breadth on both sides of the Ouabache river, as is hereby granted in the two other several tracts of land above bounded and described,) the aforesaid two several tracts of land hereby bargained and sold, from the first place of beginning to the Ohio river, consisting, together, of ninety-three leagues in length on the Ouabache river, and, on both sides thereof inclusive, seventy leagues in width or breadth, and that during its whole course as aforementioned, exclusive of, and besides, the reservation of twenty-four leagues in length, and seventy leagues in width or breadth, for the inhabitants of Post St. Vincent, reserved as aforesaid. And the said chiefs and sachems, for themselves, and for the several other natives of their nation, whom they fully and effectually represent, and their and every of their posterities, do hereby guaranty, engage, promise, covenant, and agree, to and with the several abovenamed grantees, their heirs, and assigns, and every of them, that they, the said several abovenamed grantees, their heirs and assigns, and every of them, shall and may, at all times, forever, hereafter have and enjoy the full, free, and undisturbed navigation of the said Ouabache river, from its confluence with the Ohio to its source; as well as of all the other several rivers running through the lands hereby bargained and sold, any thing herein contained to the contrary, or supposed to be, in anywise, notwithstanding: And, also, all minerals, ores, trees, woods, underwoods, waters, water courses, profits, commodities, advantages, rights, liberties, privileges, hereditaments, and appurtenances, whatsoever, to the said two several tracts of land belonging or in any wise appertaining: And, also, the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders, rents, issues, and profits, thereof, and of every part and parcel thereof; and all the estate, right, title, interest, use, property, possession, claim, and demand, of them the said Tabac or Tobacco, &c. chiefs and sachems aforesaid, and of all and every other person and persons whatsoever, of or belonging to the said Piankeshaw nation of Indians, of, into, and out of, the premises and every part and parcel thereof; to have and to hold the said two several tracts or parcels of land, and all and singular the said granted and bargained premises, with the appurtenances, unto the said Louis Viviat, &c., their ‘heirs or assigns, forever, in severalty, or unto his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, to and for the only use, benefit, and behoof, of the said grantees, their heirs and assigns, forever, as aforesaid.

And the said Tabac, or Tobacco, &c. for themselves and for all the several tribes of their nation, and all and every other nation, or nations, tributaries, and dependents on the said Piankeshaw Indians, and their, and every of their, posterities, the said several tracts of land and premises, and every part and parcel thereof, against them the said several abovenamed chiefs and sachems, and the said Piankeshaw Indians, and their tributaries and dependents, and all and every of their posterities, unto all the severally above named grantees, their heirs, and assigns, in severalty, or unto his said Majesty, his heirs, and successors, to and for the only use, benefit, and behoof, of the said grantees, their heirs, and assigns, in severalty as aforesaid, shall and will warrant, and forever defend, by these Presents.”

This deed, which conveyed to the purchasers about thirtyseven millions four hundred and ninety-seven thousand and six hundred acres, was signed by the grantees, attested by a number of the inhabitants of Post Vincennes, and subsequently registered in the office of a Notary Public at Kaskaskia.* The commencement and progress of the Revolutionary war frustrated the schemes of the Illinois and the Wabash Land Companies, and prevented these associations from planting English settlements in the territories to the possession of which they had acquired only an imperfect claim.

*On the 29th of April, 1780, the Illinois Land Company and the Wabash Land Com. pany were united under the name of “The United Illinois and Wabash Land Companies." The agents of the united companies applied to Congress for a confirmation of a part of their claim, in the years 1781, 1791, 1797, 1804, and 1810; but all these applications were rejected.

From 1768 to 1776, Jean Baptiste Racine, alias St. Marie, who was the principal officer at Post Vincennes, granted many lots of land to French settlers about that village, but none of these lots were very large. In the meantime the French population at post Vincennes, at Ouiatenon and at the Twightwee village, enjoyed a state of almost unrestrained freedom. Living in the heart of “the wilderness, without taxes, and in friendship with the Indians, they passed their lives in hunting, fishing, trading in furs, and raising a few esculents and a little corn for their families. Many of them had intermarried with the Indians, whose amity was by these ties secured and strengthened." *

Soon after the Declaration of American Independence, the British Lieutenant Governor at Detroit, sent messages and proclamations † to the Indian villages and the French trading posts in the country northwest of the river Ohio, for the purpose of inciting the inhabitants of that region to wage a sanguinary war against the settlers on the western frontiers of the United States. The British Lieutenant Governor gave standing rewards for scalps, but he seldom offered rewards for pris

The Continental Congress adopted a less sanguinary policy, and offered rewards for prisoners, but none for scalps. I

In the month of May, 1777, on the appearance of a proclamation issued by the commandant Edward Abbott, a number of the inhabitants of Post Vincennes took the oath of fidelity to the government of Great Britain. The form of this oath, as it was prescribed by an act of the British Parliament, was as follows:—"I, A. B. do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his majesty King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my power, against all traitorous conspiracies, and attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his person, crown and dignity; and I will do

*Volney. Proceedings of Council of Virginia, June 18th, 1779, ISecret Jour. Congress, i, 46.



my utmost endeavors to disclose and make known to his majesty, his heirs and successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies and attempts, which I shall know to be against him or any of them; and all this I do swear, without any equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation; and renouncing all pardons and dispensations from any power or person whomsoever, to the contrary. So help me God.”

In the summer of 1777, small war-parties from the northwestern tribes, roused by the effects of the British policy, jealous of the loss of their favorite hunting grounds, and enraged at the massacre of a distinguished Shawanee chief, * began to assail the settlements and forts which had been established by the whites on the southeastern borders of the river Ohio. In the western parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky, at this era, a fort was not only a place of defence: it was the residence of a small number of families belonging to the same neighborhood; and it consisted of cabins, block-houses, and stockades. “A range of cabins commonly formed one side at least of the fort. Divisions, or partitions of logs, separated the cabins from each other. The walls on the outside were ten or twelve feet high; the slope of the roof being turned wholly inward. A very few of these cabins had puncheon floors; the greater part were earthen. The block-houses were built at the angles of the fort. They projected about two feet beyond the outer walls of the cabins and stockades. Their upper stories were about eighteen inches every way larger in dimensions than the under one-leaving an opening at the commencement of the second story to prevent the enemy from making a lodgement under their walls. In some forts, instead of block-houses the angles of the fort were furnished with bastions. A large folding gate, made of thick slabs, nearest the spring, closed the fort. The stockades, bastions, cabins, and block-house walls, were furnished with port holes at proper heights and distances. The whole of the outside was made completely bullet-proof.” In many instances these forts were made without the aid of a single nail or spike of iron, because “such things were not to be had. In some places, less exposed, a single block-house, with a cabin or two, constituted the whole fort.”*

*Late in the spring of 1777, the chiefs Cornstalk, Redhawk, and another Indian visi. ted the fort at the mouth of the Great Kanawha river. At this place a Captain Arbuckle was the commanding officer. Cornstalk stated to the Captain, that, with the exception of himself, and the tribe to which he belonged, all the nations had joined the English, and that, unless protected by the whites, “they would have to run with the stream.' Captain Arbuckle thought proper to detain the Cornstalk chief and his two companions as hostages for the good conduct of the tribe to which they belonged.” Elenipsico, a son of Cornstalk, on going to the fort to enquire after his father, was captured and confined. Soon after this event, two Indians who had concealed themselves in the woods on the bank of the Kanawba, killed a white man as he was returning from hunting. "The dead body was brought over the river," and "there was a general cry amongst the men who were present, 'Let us kill the Indians in the fort.' Immediately a gang, with a Captain Hall at their head, went to the house where the hostages were confined. The old chief Cornstalk rose up to meet them at the door, but instantly received seven bullets through his body. His son and his other two fellow hostages were instantly despatched with bullets and tomahawks. Thus fell the Shawanee war chief, Cornstalk, who, like Logan his companion in arms, was conspicuous for intellectual talent, bravery, and misfortune."--Doddridge, 237.--Drake, book v. c. iii, p. 48.

From 1777 to 1754, the rude fortifications of the western settlers were seldom attacked boldly by strong Indian war parties. A credible actort among the adventurous class of men who first settled in Kentucky, thus described the Indian mode of making war: “ The Indians in besieging a place are seldom seen in force upon any quarter; but dispersed, and acto ing individually, or in small parties. They conceal themselves in the bushes or weeds, or behind trees or stumps of trees; or waylay the path, or fields, or other places where their enemies resort; and when one or more can be taken down, in their opinion, they fire the gun, or let fly the arrow, aimed at the mark. If necessary they retreat: if they dare, they advance upon their killed, or crippled adversary; and take his scalp, or make him prisoner, if possible. They aim to cut off the garrison supplies, by killing the cattle; and they watch the watering places, for those who go for that article of primary necessity; that they may by these means reduce the place to their possession, or destroy its inhabitants in detail.

In the night they will place themselves near the fort gate ready to sacrifice the first person who shall appear in the morning. In


[ocr errors]

Doddridge, 117.
fCol. J. Floyd.-Butler's History of Kentucky, 33.

« PreviousContinue »