Page images
PDF
EPUB

1776. Clark and Jones attacked by the Natives.

161 When the Assembly met, Messrs. Clark and Jones on the one hand, and Henderson and his friends on the other, proceeded to lay before it the whole question of proprietorship in the Kentucky purchase from the Cherokees. The contest must have been one of considerable severity, for it was not till December 7, 1776,* that the success of the Delegates appointed in June was made certain by the erection of the region in dispute, together with all that now forms the State of Kentucky, into a county of that name. His second great aim secured, (and he probably considered it so before the actual passage of the above law,) Clark and his associate were on the point of returning at once to the frontier by the southern route, as we presume, when they fortunately heard that their gun powder still lay at Pittsburgh. The truth was that Clark's letter to his western friends had miscarried. At once the envoys determined to go back by way of the Ohio and see their five hundred pounds of ammunition safe to the stations themselves. When they reached Pittsburgh they learned that many Indians, it was thought with hostile intentions, were lurking thereabouts who would probably follow them down the river; but no time was to be lost, no matter what dangers threatened, so with seven boatmen the two Delegates embarked upon the Ohio, and succeeded in reaching safely Limestone Creek, where Maysville has been since built. Setting their boat adrift, lest it should attract attention, they concealed their treasure, as they best could, along the banks of the Creek, and started for Harrodsburg to procure a convoy. On the way they heard of Colonel Todd as being in the neighborhood with a band of men; Jones and five of the boatmen remained to join this party and return with it for the powder, while Clark and the other two pushed forward to the Kentucky. Jones and Todd, having met, turned their steps towards the Ohio, but were suddenly attacked on the 25th of December, near the Blue Licks, by a party of natives who had struck Clark's trail,

were defeated, and Jones with two others was killed.t Clark, i however, reached Harrodsburg in safety, and a party was sent

thence which brought the gun powder to the forts.

Morehead's Address, 56.—Butler says October.-p. 89.—December 7, in his Introduction, lxx. and December 6th, in Chronology, p. 27.

+ Clark's Journal in Morehead, 161.--Also Clark's account in Dillon's Indiana, 128 to 130.

The year 1776 might be said to have passed without any serious injury to the colonists from the various Indian tribes, although it was clear, that those tribes were to be looked on as engaged in the war, and that the majority of them were with the mother country. Through the west and northwest, where the agents of England could act to the greatest advantage, dissatisfaction spread rapidly. The nations, nearest the Americans, found themselves pressed upon and harassed by the more distant bands, and through the whole winter of 1776–7, rumors were flying along the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania, of coming troubles. Nor were the good people of New York less disturbed in their minds, the settlers upon the Mohawk and upper Susquehanna standing in continual dread of incursion.* No incursion, however, took place during the winter or spring of 1777; though why the blow was delayed is what we cannot well know, until Great Britain has magnanimity enough to unveil her past acts, and, acknowledging her follies and sins, to show the world the various steps to that union of the savages against her foes, which her noble Chatham denounced as a “disgrace,” and “deep and deadly sin.”

That blow was delayed, however; and, alas! was struck, at length, after, and as if in retaliation for, one of those violent acts of wrong, which must at times be expected from a frontier people. We refer to the murder of Cornstalk, the leading chieftain of the Scioto Shawanese; a man whose energy, courage, and good sense, place him among the very foremost of the native heroes of this land.f This truly great man, who was himself for peace, but who found all his neighbors, and even those of his own tribe, stirred up to war by the agents of England, went over to the American fort at Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kenhawa, in

* Journal of the Old Congress.–Stone, &c.
+ Scc Stone, vol i. p. 191.- Doldridge's Indian Wars, &c.

1777.

Cornstalk and Redharok ensnared and killed.

163

order to talk the matter over with Captain Arbuckle, who commanded there, and with whom he was acquainted. This was early in the summer of 1777. The Americans, knowing the Shawanese to be inclining to the enemy, thought it would be a good plan to retain Cornstalk and Redhawk, a younger chief of note, who was with him, and make them hostages for the good conduct of their people. The old warrior, accordingly, after he had finished his statement of the position he was in, and the necessity under which he and his friends would be of “going with the stream," unless the Long-Knives could protect them, found that, in seeking counsel and safety, he had walked into a trap, and was fast there. However, he folded his arms, and, with Indian calmness, waited the issue. The day went by. The next morning came, and from the opposite shore was heard an Indian hail, known to be from Ellinipsico, the son of Cornstalk. The Americans brought him also into their toils as a hostage, and were thankful that they had thus secured to themselves peace;-as if iniquity and deception ever secured that first condition of all good! Another day rolled by, and the three captives sat waiting what time would bring. On the third day, two savages who were unknown to the whites, shot one of the white hunters, toward evening. Instantly the dead man's comrades raised the cry, “Kill the red dogs in the fort.” Arbuckle tried to stop them, but they were men of blood, and their wrath was up. The Captain's own life was threatened if he offered any hindrance. They rushed to the house where the captives were confined; Cornstalk met them at the door, and fell, pierced with seven bullets; his son and Redhawk died also, less calmly than their veteran companion, and more painfully. From that hour peace was not to be hoped for. *

But this treachery, closed by murder, on the part of the Americans, in no degree caused, or excuses the after steps of the British agents; for almost at the moment when Cornstalk was dying upon the banks of the Ohio, there was a Congress gathering at Oswego, under the eye of Colonel Johnson, “to eat the flesh and drink the blood of a Bostonian;" in other words, to arrange finally the measures which should be taken against the devoted rebels by Christian brethren and their heathen allies.

* Doddridge, 237.-Withers' Border Warfare, 151. + Stone, ro!. 1. p. 186.

164
British offer bounties for scalps.

1775. In Kentucky, meanwhile, Indian hostilities had been unceasing. In illustration of this we give some passages from George R. Clark's Journal.*

March 6th, Thos. Shores and William Ray killed at the Shawanese Spring: -7th, the Indians attempted to cut off from the fort a small party of our men: a skirmish ensued—we had four men wounded and some cattle killed. We killed and scalped one Indian, and wounded several.--819, brought in corn from the different cribs until the 18th day. -9th, express sent to the settlement, Ebenezer Corn & Co. arrived from Captain Linn on the Mississippi.-18th, a small party of Indians killed and scalped Hugh Wilson, about half a mile from the fort, near night, and escaped.—191h, Archibald McNeal died of his wounds received on the 7th inst.—28th, a large party of Indians attacked the stragglers about the fort, killed and scalped Garret Pandergrest, killed or took prisoner, Peter Flin.

April 71h, Indians killed one man at Boonesborough, and wounded one.-81h, Stoner arrived with news from the settlement.-24th. forty or fifty Indians attacked Boonesborough, killed and scalped Daniel Goodman, wounded Captain Boone, Captain Todd, Mr. Hite and Mr. Stoner. Indians, 't is thought sustained much damage.—29th, Indians attacked the fort and killed ensign McConnell.

May 6th, Indians discovered placing themselves near the fort. A few shots exchanged-no harm done.-12th, John Cowan and Squire Boone arrived from the settlement.—18th, McGary and Haggin sent express to Fort Piit.—23d, John Todd & Co. set off for the settlement. -23d, a large party of Indians attacked Boonesborough fori; kept : warm fire until 11 o'clock at night; began it next morning, and kept a warm fire until midnight, attempting several times to burn the fort; three of our men were wounded — not mortally; the enemy suffered considerably.-26th, a party went out to hunt Indians; one wounded Squire Boone, and escaped.-30th, Indians attacked Logan's Fort; killed and scalped William Hudson, wounded Burr Harrison and John Kennedy.

June 5th, Harrod and Elliot went to meet Colonel Bowman & Co.; Glen and Laird arrived from Cumberland ; Daniel Lyons, who parted with them on Green River, we suppose was killed going into Logan's Fort. John Peters and Elisha Bathey we expect were killed coming home from Cumberland.-13th, Burr Harrison died of his wounds received the 30th of May.-220, Baruey Stagner, Sen. killed and beheaded half a mile from the fort. A few guns fired at Boone's.

* See also extracts from another journal of the same period in Cist's Cincinnati Miscellany, ii, 138.

1777.

Condition of Kentucky.

165

July 9th, Lieutenant Linn married; great merriment.-11th, Harrod returned.--23d, express returned from Pittsburgh.

August 1st, Colonel Bowman arrived at Boonesborough.--5th, surrounded ten or twelve Indians near the fort; killed three and wounded others; the plunder was sold for upwards of £70.—11th, John Higgins died of a lingering disorder.—25th, Ambrose Grayson killed near Logan's Fort, and two others wounded; Indians escaped.

September 8th, twenty-seven men set out for the settlement.-9th, Indians discovered ; a shot exchanged; nothing done.-11th, thirtyseven men went to Josephi Bowman's for corn, while shelling they were fired on ; a skirmish ensued; Indians drew off, leaving two dead on the spot, and much blood; Eli Gerrard was killed on the spot and six others wounded.-12th, Daniel Bryan died of his wounds received yesterday.*

At times, the stations were assailed by large bodies of savages; at times, single settlers were picked off by single, skulking foes. The horses and cattle were driven away; the corn-fields remained uncultivated; the numbers of the whites became fewer and fewer, and from the older settlements little or no aid came to the frontier stations, until Col. Bowman, in August, 1777, came from Virginia with one hundred men. It was a time of suffering and distress through all the colonies, which was in most of them bravely borne; but none suffered more, or showed more courage and fortitude, than the settlers of the West. Their conduct has excited less admiration out of their own section than that of Marion, and men like him, because their struggles had less apparent connection with the great cause of American independence. But who shall say what would have become of the resistance of the colonies, had England been able to pour from Canada her troops upon the rear of the rebels, assisted, as she would have been, by all the Indian nations? It may have been the contests before the stations of Kentucky, and Clark's bold incursions into Illinois and against Vincennes, which turned the oft tottering fortunes of the great struggle.

But, however we may think of this point, we cannot doubt the picturesque and touching character of many incidents of Western history during the years from 1777 to 1780. Time has not yet so mellowed their features as to give them an air of romance precisely; but the essence of romance is in them. In illustration, we

• Morehead's Address, p. 162.

« PreviousContinue »