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246 Crawford's Death.
1782. nese towns and see my friends, When the Colonel arrived he painted him black also, told him he was glad to see him, and that he would have him shaved when he came to see his friends at the Wyandot town. When we marched the Colonel and I were kept back between Pipe and Wyngenim, the two Delaware chiefs; the other nine prisoners were sent forward with another party of Indians. As we went along we saw four of the prisoners lying by the path tomahawked and scalped, some of them were at the distance of half a mile from each other. When we arrived within half a mile of the place where the Colonel was executed, we overtook the five prisoners that remained alive; the Indians had caused them to sit down on the ground, as they did also the Colonel and me at some distance from them. I was there given in eharge to an Indian fellow to be taken to the Shawanese towns.
In the place where we were now made to sit down, there was a number of squaws and boys, who fell on the five prisoners and tomahawked them. There was a certain John McKinly amongst the prisoners, formerly an officer in the 13th Virginia regiment, whose head an old squaw cut off, and the Indians kicked it about upon the ground. The young Indian fellows came often where the Colonel and I were, and dashed the scalps in our faces. We were then conducted along toward the place where the Colonel was afterwards executed; when we came wiihin about half a mile of it, Simon Girty met us, with several Indians on horseback; he spoke to the Colonel, but as I was about one hundred and fifty yards behind, could not hear what passed between them.
Almost every Indian we met struck us either with sticks or their fists. Girly waited till I was brought up and asked, was that the Doctor? I told him yes, and went towards him reaching out my hand, but he bid me begone, and called me a damned rascal, upon which the fellows who had me in charge pulled me along. Girty rode up after me and told me I was to go to the Shawanese towns.
When we went to the fire the Colonel was stripped naked, ordered to sit down by the fire, and then they beat him with sticks and their fists. Presently after I was treated in the same manner. They then tied a rope to the foot of a post about fifteen feet high, bound the Colonel's hands behind his back and fastened the rope to the ligature between his wrists. The rope was long enough for him to sit down or walk round the post once or twice, and return the same way. 'The Colonel then called to Girty and asked if they intended to burn him? Girty answered, yes. The Colonel said he would take it all patiently. Upon this, Captain Pipe, a Delaware chief, made a speech to the Indians, viz: about thirty or forty men, sixty or seventy squaws and boys.
When the speech was finished they all yelled a hideous and hearty assent to what had been said. The Indian men then took up their guns and shot powder into the Colonel's body, from his feet as far up as his
1782. Crawford's Death.
247 neck. I think that not less than seventy loads were discharged upon his naked body. They then crowded about him, and to the best of my observation, cut off his ears ; when the throng had dispersed a little, I saw the blood running from both sides of his head in consequence thereof.
The fire was about six or seven yards from the post to which the Colonel was tied; it was made of small hickory poles, burnt quite through in the middle, each end of the poles remaining about six feet in length. Three or four Indians by turns would take up, individually, one of these burning pieces of wood and apply it to his naked body, already burnt black with the powder. These tormentors presented themselves on every side of him with the burning faggots and poles. Some of the squaws took broad boards, upon which they would carry a quantity of burning coals and hot embers and throw on him, so that in a short time he had nothing but coals of fire and hot ashes to walk upon.
In the midsı of these extreme tortures, he called to Simon Girty and begged of him to shoot him ; but Girty making no answer, he called to him again. Girty, then, by way of derision, told the Colonel he had no gun, at the same time turning about to an Indian who was behind him, laughed heartily, and by all his gestures seemed delighted at the horrid scene. Girty then came up to me and bade me prepare for death.
He said, however, I was not to die at that place, but to be burnt at the Shawanese towns. He swore by G-d I need not expect to escape death, but should suffer it in all its extremities.
He then observed that some prisoners had given him to understand, that if our people had him they would not hurt him ; for his part, he said, he did not believe it, but desired to know my opinion of the matter, but being at that time in great anguish and distress for the torments the Colonel was suffering before my eyes, as well as the expectation of undergoing the same fate in two days, I made little or no answer. He expressed a great deal of ill will for Colonel Gibson, and said he was one of his greatest enemies, and more to the same purpose, to all which I paid very little attention.
Colonel Crawford at this period of his sufferings besought the Almighty to have mercy on his soul, spoke very low, and bore his torments with the most manly fortitude. He continued in all the extremo ities of pain for an hour and three quarters or two hours longer, as near as I can judge, when at last, being almost exhausted, he lay down on his belly; they then scalped him, and repeatedly threw the scalp in my face, telling me, “that was my great captain." An old squaw (whose appearance every way answered the ideas people entertain of the Devil,) got a board, took a parcel of coals and ashes and laid them on his back and head, after he had been scalped, he then raised himself upon his
Treatment of the Moravians by the British.
feet and began to walk round the post; they next put a burning stick to him as usual, but he seemed more insensible of pain than before.
The Indian fellow who had me in charge, now took me away to Captain Pipe's house, about three-quarters of a mile from the place of the Colonel's execution. I was bound all night, and thus prevented from seeing the last of the horrid spectacle. Next morning, being June 12th, the Indian untied me, painted me black, and we set off for the Shawanese town, which he told me was somewhat less than forty miles distant from that place. We soon came to the spot where the Colonel had been burnt, as it was partly in our way; I saw his bones lying amongst the remains of the fire, almost burnt to ashes ; I suppose after he was dead they laid his body on the fire. The Indian told me that was my big Captain, and gave the scalp halloo.
In strange but pleasant contrast to the treatment of the Christian Indians upon the Muskingum, we have to record next the conduct of the British toward their religious leaders during this same spring. Girty, who early in the season had led a band of Wyandots against the American frontiers, had left orders to have Heckewelder and his comrades driven like beasts from Sandusky, where they had wintered, to Detroit; specially enjoining brutality toward them. But his agents, or rather those of the English commandant in the west, together with the traders who were called upon to aid in their removal, distinguished themselves by kindness and consideration, aiding the missionaries on their march, defending the captives from the outrageous brutality of Girty, who overtook them at Lower Sandusky, and who swore he would have their lives, and at length re-uniting them to their surviving disciples at a settlement upon the river Huron.*
It was in March that Williamson's campaign took place, and during the same month the Moravians were taken to Michigan. It was in that month also † that an event took place in Kentucky, near the present town of Mt. Sterling, in Montgomery county, which has been dwelt upon with more interest by her historians, than almost any other of equal unimportance; we refer to Estell's defeat by a party of Wyandots. The interest of this skirmish arose from the equality of numbers on the two sides; the supposed cowardice of Miller, Estill's lieutenant, who was sent to outflank
's Narrative, 308. 329–349. † Marshall (i. 126) says May; we follow Chief Justice Robertson, quoted by Butler (124 note) who says March 22. See also Cists Cincinnati Miscellany, i. 3. This is a detailed account.
1782. Estill's Defeat and Attack on Bryant's Station. 249 the savages; and the consequent death of the leader, a brave and popular man. Its effect
upon the settlers was merely to excite a deeper hostility toward the Indian races.
Nor did the red men on their part show any signs of losing their animosity. Elliot, McKee and Girty urged them on with a fury that it is not easy to account for.
Again the woods teemed with savages, and no one was safe from attack beyond the walls of a station. The influence of the British, and the constant pressure of the Long Knives upon the red-men, had produced a union of the various tribes of the northwest, who seemed to be gathering again to strike a fatal blow at the frontier settlements, and had they been led by a Philip, a Pontiac, or a Tecumthe, it is impossible to estimate the injury they might have inflicted.
June and July passed, however, and August was half gone, and still the anticipated storm had ňot burst upon the pioneers in its full force, when, upon the night of the 14th of the latter month, the main body of the Indians, five or six hundred in number, gathered, silent as the shadows, round Bryant's station, a post on the bank of the Elkhorn, about five miles from Lexington. The garrison of this post had heard on the evening of the 14th, of the defeat of a party of whites not far distant, and during that night were busy in preparations to march with day-break to the assistance of their neighbors. All night long their preparations continued, and what little sound the savages made as they approached, was unheard amid the comparative tumult within. Day stole through the forest; the woodsmen rose from their brief slumbers, took their arms, and were on the point of opening their gates to march, when the crack of rifles, mingled with yells and howls, told them in an instant how narrowly they had escaped captivity or death. Rushing to the loop-holes and crannies, they saw about a hundred red-men firing and gesticulating in full view of the fort. The young bloods, full of rage at Estill's sad defeat, wished instantly to rush forth upon the attackers, but there was something in the manner of the Indians so peculiar that the older heads at once suspected a trick, and looked anxiously to the opposite side of the fort, where they judged the main body of the enemy were probably concealed. Nor were they deceived. The savages were led by Simon Girty. This white savage had proposed by an attack upon one side of the station with a small part of his force, to draw out the garrison, and then intended, with the main body
Attack on Bryant's Station.
to fall upon the other side and secure the fort; but his plan was defeated by the over-acting of his red allies, and the sagacity of his opponents. These opponents, however, had still a sad difficulty to encounter; the fort was not supplied with water, and the spring was at some distance, and in the immediate vicinity of the thicket in which it was supposed the main force of the Indians lay concealed. The danger of going or sending for water was plain, the absolute necessity of having it was equally so; and how it could be procured was a question which made many a head shake, many a heart sink. At length a plan equally sagacious and bold was hit upon, and successfully carried into execution by as great an exertion of womanly presence of mind as can, perhaps, be found on record. If the savages were, as was supposed, concealed near the spring, it was believed they would not show themselves until they had reason to believe their trick had succeeded, and the garrison had left the fort on the other side. It was therefore proposed to all the females to go with their buckets to the spring, fill them, and return to the fort, before any sally was made against the attacking party. The danger to which they must be exposed was not to be concealed, but it was urged upon them that this must be done or all perish; and that if they were steady, the Indians would not molest them; and to the honor of their sex be it said, they went forth in a body, and directly under five hundred rifles, filled their buckets, and returned in such a manner as not to suggest to the quick-sighted savages that their presence in the thicket was suspected.* This done, a small number of the garrison were sent forth against the attackers, with orders to multiply their numbers to the ear by constant firing, while the main body of the whites took their places to repel the anticipated rush of those in concealment. The plan succeeded perfectly. The whole body of Indians rushed from their ambuscade as they heard the firing upon the opposite side of the fort, and were received by a fair, well-directed discharge of all the rifles left within the station. Astonished and horror-stricken, the assailants turned to the forest again as quickly as they had left it, having lost many of their number.
In the morning, as soon as the presence of the Indians was ascertained, and before their numbers were suspected, two messen. gers had broken through their line, bearing to Lexington tidings of the seige of Bryant's station, and asking succors. These
* We have it on the best authority, however, that Simon Kenton said this was all romance, by his account there was a covered way to the spring,