Produced by David Bowden, Tom Allen, Charles Franks and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
[Illustration: The dance of the magicians lasted fully a quarter of
ON THE TRAIL OF PONTIAC
THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE OHIO
Author of "With Washington in the West," "Lost on the Orinoco," "Two Young
Lumbermen," "American Boys' Life of William McKinley," "Old Glory Series,"
"Ship and Shore Series," etc.
ILLUSTRATED BY A. B. SHUTE
"On the Trail of Pontiac" is a complete story in itself, but forms the
fourth volume of a line known by the general title of "Colonial Series."
The first volume, entitled "With Washington in the West," related the
adventures of Dave Morris, a young pioneer of Will's Creek, now Cumberland,
Va. Dave became acquainted with George Washington at the time the latter
was a surveyor, and served under the youthful officer during the fateful
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
Braddock expedition against Fort Duquesne.
The Braddock defeat left the frontier at the mercy of the French and the
Indians, and in the second volume of the series, called "Marching on
Niagara," are given the particulars of General Forbes' campaign against
Fort Duquesne and the advance of Generals Prideaux and Johnson against Fort
Niagara, in which not only Dave Morris, but likewise his cousin Henry, do
their duty well as young soldiers.
The signal victory at Niagara gave to the English control of all that vast
territory lying between the great Lakes and what was called the Louisiana
Territory. But war with France was not yet at an end, and in the third
volume of the series, entitled "At the Fall of Montreal," I have related
the particulars of the last campaign against the French, including General
Wolfe's memorable scaling of the Heights of Quebec, the battle on the
Plains of Abraham, and lastly the fall of Montreal itself, which brought
this long-drawn war to a conclusion, and was the means of placing Canada
where it remains to-day, in the hands of England.
With the conclusion of the War with France, the settlers in America
imagined that they would be able to go back unmolested to their homesteads
on the frontier. But such was not to be. The Indians who had assisted
France during the war were enraged to see the English occupying what they
considered their own personal hunting grounds, and, aroused by the cunning
and eloquence of the great chief Pontiac, and other leaders, they concocted
more than one plot to fall upon the settlements and the forts of the
frontier and massacre all who opposed them. The beginning of this fearful
uprising of the red men is given in the pages which follow.
As in my previous books, I have tried to be as accurate historically as
possible. The best American, English, and French authorities have been
consulted. I trust that all who read the present volume may find it both
entertaining and instructive.
July 1, 1904
I. A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST
II. THE CABIN IN THE CLEARING
III. BARRINGFORD'S STRANGE DISCOVERY
IV. SEARCHING FOR CLEWS
V. A LIVELY ELK HUNT
VI. SURRENDER OF FORT DETROIT
VII. PREPARING FOR THE EXPEDITION WESTWARD
VIII. ON THE OLD BRADDOCK ROAD
IX. HENRY'S STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE
X. A WAIT IN CAMP
XI. HAPPENINGS OF A STORMY NIGHT
XII. THE RUINS OF THE OLD TRADING-POST
XIII. BUILDING THE NEW TRADING-POST
XIV. JEAN BEVOIR HAS HIS SAY
XV. DAVE'S UNWELCOME VISITOR
XVI. DAVE MEETS PONTIAC
XVII. THE ATTACK ON THE PACK-TRAIN
XVIII. AFTER THE ENCOUNTER
XIX. THE TRAIL THROUGH THE FOREST
XX. GUARDING THE TRADING-POST
XXI. SAM BARRINGFORD BRINGS NEWS
XXII. THE ROCK BY THE RIVER
XXIII. DAVE AND THE FAWN
XXIV. SOMETHING ABOUT SLAVES AND INDIAN CAPTIVES
XXV. THE RESULTS OF A BUFFALO HUNT
XXVI. STRANGE INDIAN MAGIC
XXVII. THE TRAIL OF PONTIAC
XXVIII. AN UNDERGROUND STOREHOUSE
XXIX. PONTIAC'S TRAIL ONCE MORE
XXX. IN THE CAMP OF THE ENEMY
XXXI. HELD AS A SPY
XXXII. A FIGHT AND A VICTORY - CONCLUSION
The dance of the magicians lasted fully a quarter of an hour
The report was followed by a mad yelp of pain
Henry ... rolled over and over down a long hill
"Let go!" cried Dave. "Let go, I say!"
"Where are your furs?" asked James Morris
He let the animal have a bullet directly in the head
"Tis one of the English" said the taller of the Indians
"The white young man is sorry to be a prisoner," he said slowly
A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST
"Two wild turkeys and seven rabbits. Not such a bad haul after all, Henry."
"That is true, Dave. But somehow I wanted to get a deer if I could."
"Oh, I reckon almost any hunter would like to bring down a deer," went on
Dave Morris. "But they are not so plentiful as they were before the war."
"That is true." Henry Morris placed the last rabbit he had brought down in
his game-bag. "I can remember the time when the deer would come up to
within a hundred yards of the house. But you have got to take a long tramp
to find one now."
"And yet game ought to be plentiful," went on his younger cousin. "There
wasn't much hunting in this vicinity during the war. Nearly everybody who
could go to the front went."
"There were plenty who couldn't be hired to go, you know that as well as I
do. Some were afraid they wouldn't get their pay and others were afraid the
French or the Indians would knock 'em over." Henry Morris took a deep
breath. "Beats me how they could stay home - with the enemy doing their best
to wipe us out."
"I can't understand it either. But now the war is over, do you think we'll
have any more trouble with the Indians?" continued Dave Morris, as he and
his cousin started forward through the deep snow that lay in the woods
which had been their hunting ground for the best part of the day.
"It's really hard to tell, Dave. Father thinks we'll have no more trouble,
but Sam Barringford says we won't have real peace until the redskins have
had one whipping they won't forget as long as they live."
"Well, Sam knows the Indians pretty thoroughly."
"No one knows them better. And why shouldn't he know 'em? He's been among
them since he was a small boy, and he must be fifty now if he's a day."
"I can tell you one thing, Henry," continued Dave warmly. "I was mighty
glad to see Sam recover from that wound he received at Quebec. At first I
thought he would either die or be crazy for the rest of his life."
"It's his iron constitution that pulled him through. Many another soldier
would have caved in clean and clear. But hurry up, if you want to get home
before dark," and so speaking, Henry Morris set off through the woods at a
faster pace than ever, with his cousin close at his heels. Each carried his
game-bag on his back and a flint-lock musket over his shoulder.
The time was early in the year 1761, but a few months after the fall of
Montreal had brought the war between France and England in America to a
close. Canada was now in the possession of the British, and the settlers in
our colonies along the great Atlantic seacoast, and on the frontier
westward, were looking for a long spell of peace in which they might regain
that which had been lost, or establish themselves in new localities which
As already mentioned, Dave and Henry Morris were cousins, Henry being the
older by several years. They lived in the little settlement of Will's
Creek, Virginia, close to where the town of Cumberland stands to-day. The
Morris household consisted of Dave's father, Mr. James Morris, who was a
widower, and Mr. Joseph Morris, his wife Lucy, and their children, Rodney,
several years older than Henry, who came next, and Nell, a girl of about
six, who was the household pet. In years gone by Rodney had been a good
deal of a cripple, but a surgical operation had done wonders for him and
now he was almost as strong as any of the others.
James Morris was a natural born trapper and fur trader, and when his wife
died he left his son Dave in the care of his brother Joseph and wandered to
the west, where he established a trading-post on the Kinotah, a small
stream flowing into the Ohio River. This was at the time that George
Washington, the future President of our country, was a young surveyor, and
in the first volume of this series, entitled "With Washington in the West,"
I related how Dave fell in with Washington and became his assistant, and
how, later on, Dave became a soldier to march under Washington during the
disastrous Braddock campaign against Fort Duquesne.
General Braddock's failure to bring the French to submission cost James
Morris dearly. His trading-post was attacked and he barely escaped with his
life. Dave likewise became a prisoner of the enemy, and it was only through
the efforts of a friendly Indian named White Buffalo, and an old frontier
acquaintance named Sam Barringford, that the pair escaped to a place of
War between France and England had then become a certainty. France was
aided greatly by the Indians, and it was felt by the colonists that a
strong blow must be struck and without delay. Expeditions against the
French were organized, and in the second volume of the series, called
"Marching on Niagara," are given the particulars of another campaign
against Fort Duquesne (located where the city of Pittsburg, Penn., now
stands) and then of the long and hard campaign against Fort Niagara. Dave
and Henry were both in the contest, for they had joined the ranks of the
Royal Americans, as the Colonial troops were called.
With the fall of Fort Niagara the English came once again into possession
of all the territory lying between the Great Lakes and the lower
Mississippi. But Canada was not yet taken, and there followed more
campaigns, which have been described in the third volume of the series,
called "At the Fall of Montreal." In these campaigns both Dave and Henry
fought well, and with them was Sam Barringford, who had promised the
parents that he would keep an eye on the youths. Henry had been taken
prisoner and Barringford had been shot, but in the end all had been
re-united, and as soon as the old frontiersman was well enough to do so,
the three had left the army and gone back to the homestead at Will's Creek.
It had been a great family re-union and neighbors from miles around had
come in to hear what the young soldiers and their sturdy old friend might
have to tell. Because of the ending of the terrible war, there was general
"I never wish to see the like of it again," Mrs. Morris had said, not once,
but many times. "Think of those who have been slain, and who are wounded!"
"You are right, Lucy," her husband had returned. "There is nothing worse
than war, unless it be a pestilence. I, too, want nothing but peace
"And I agree most heartily," had come from James Morris. "One cannot till
the soil nor hunt unless we are at peace with both the French and the
"Be thankful that Jean Bevoir has been removed from your path," had come
from his brother.
"And from our path, too, Joseph," Mrs. Morris had put in quickly.
Jean Bevoir had been a rascally French trader who owned a trading-post but
a few miles from that established by James Morris on the Kinotah. Bevoir
had claimed the Morris post for his own, and had aided the Indians in an
attack which had all but ruined the buildings. Later on the Frenchman had
helped in the abduction of little Nell, but the girl had been rescued by
Dave and her brother Henry. Then Jean Bevoir drifted to Montreal, and while
trying to loot some houses there during the siege, was shot down in a
skirmish between the looters on one side, and the French and the English
soldiers on the other. The Morrises firmly believed that Jean Bevoir was
dead, but such was not a fact. A wound thought to be fatal had taken a turn
for the better, and the fellow was now lying in a French farmhouse on the
St. Lawrence, where two or three of his old companions in crime were doing
their best to nurse him back to health and strength. Jean Bevoir had not
forgotten the Morrises, nor what they had done to drag him down, as he
expressed it, and, although the war was at an end, he was determined to
make Dave, Henry, and the others pay dearly for the ruin they had brought
to his plans in the past.
"I shall show them that, though France is beaten, Jean Bevoir still lives,"
he told himself boastingly. "The trading-post on the Kinotah with its
beautiful lands, shall still be mine - the Morrises shall never possess it!"
Sometimes he spoke to his companions of these things, but they merely
smiled at him, thinking that what he had in mind to do would prove
impossible of accomplishment.
THE CABIN IN THE CLEARING
It was already four o'clock and the short winter day was drawing to a
close. On every side of the two young hunters arose the almost trackless
woods, with here and there a small opening, where the wind had swept the
rocks clear of snow. Not a sound broke the stillness.
"Were we ever in this neighborhood before?" questioned Dave, after a
silence of several minutes.
"Yes, I was up here three or four years ago," answered his cousin, who, as
my old readers know, was a natural-born hunter and woodsman. "Got a deer
right over yonder." And he pointed with his hand. "The one I hit plumb in
the left eye."
"Oh, yes, I remember that," came from Dave. "It was a prime shot. Wish I
could do as well sometime."
"You needn't complain, Dave. You've done better than lots of men around
here. Some of 'em can't shoot anything at all. They are farmers and nothing
"Well, we'll all have to turn farmers sooner or later - after the best of
the game is killed off."
"Has your father said anything about going out to his trading-post on the
"Nothing more than what you heard him say on New Year's day - that he would
go as soon as the weather got warm enough, and it was considered safe."
"I wish I could go out with you. I really believe I could make some money,
bringing in pelts, - more money than I can make by staying here."
"Perhaps you could, Henry, and, oh, I wish you could go!" went on Dave
impulsively. "Wouldn't we have the best times, though!"
"The trouble is father wants me on the farm. There is so much to do, you
see. While the war was on everything went to pieces."
"But Rodney can help now. He told me only yesterday that he felt strong
enough to do almost anything."
"Yes, I've thought of that. If he can take hold, perhaps I can get father
to consent. Did you say Sam Barringford was going?"
"To be sure. And so is White Buffalo. I suppose father will take not less
than a dozen hunters and trappers with him and six or eight Indians, too.
He says he doesn't want to depend altogether on strangers when he gets out
there, and he hardly knows what has become of the most of those who were
with him before."
"More than half of the crowd are dead, shot down either in the trouble with
the redskins or in the war."
"I've been wondering if there is anything left of the trading-post. Father
has half a notion that the Indians burnt it to the ground, and burnt the
forest around it, too. If they have done that, he won't want to build again
on the burn-over, but at some new spot where the forest hasn't been touched
and timber is easy to get."
"Do you suppose they burnt the post Jean Bevoir had?"
"I reckon not. The Indians were very friendly with that rascal."
The youths had now come to the edge of the woods. Here was a well-defined
trail, running from Will's Creek to a hamlet knows as Shadd's Run, named
after an old Englishman who had settled there six years previous. Shadd and
his family had been massacred by the Indians at the time of Braddock's
defeat, and all that was left of his commodious log cabin was a heap of
Turning into the trail, the young hunters continued on their way to the
Morris homestead. This itself was a new building, for the first cabin had
also gone up in flames during the terrible uprising. On either side of the
road were patches of woods, with here and there a cleared field. Soon they
came in sight of a log cabin.
"Hullo, Neighbor Thompson!" sang out Henry, and in a moment a man appeared
at the door of the house, musket in hand.
"So you've got back," said the man, and lowered his weapon. "What luck?"
"Two wild turkeys and seven rabbits," answered Henry. He reached into his
game-bag. "Here are the two rabbits I promised you for the powder." And he
handed over the game.
"Thank you, Henry, they'll make a fine pot-pie. Didn't see any deer?"
"Thought not. Will you come in and warm up?"
"I'm not cold."
"Nor am I," put in Dave.
Paul Thompson had been followed to the doorway by his wife Sarah, and the
pair asked the two young hunters how matters were faring at home.
"We feel lonely here," said Mrs. Thompson. "In Philadelphia we had so much
"You must come over to our house more," answered Henry. "Mother, I know,
will be glad to see you."
The Thompsons had come to that neighborhood the summer before, taking up a
claim of land left by a near relative who had died. Both were young, and
the husband had thought to improve his condition by turning farmer rather
than by remaining a clerk in one of the Philadelphia shops. But the
loneliness of the life was something neither had counted on, and both were
glad enough to talk to a neighbor at every available opportunity.
"I am coming over in a week or two, to stay three days, if your folks will
keep me," said Mrs. Thompson. "Paul is going over to Dennett's Mills on
"You'll be welcome," said Henry; and after a little more talk the young
hunters went on their way.
"I'm anxious to see what sort of a farmer Thompson will make," said Dave as
he strode along. "I don't believe he knows a thing about tilling the soil.
He's as green as we should be behind the counter of a shop."
"He'll have to learn, the same as anybody else."
At last the youths came in sight of home. It was now dark, and through the
living-room window they saw the gleam of a tallow candle which rested on
A shout from Dave brought his father to the doorway. "Back again, eh?"
exclaimed James Morris. "And tired as two dogs after the chase, I'll
"We are tired," answered the son. "But I reckon we could walk a few miles
more if we had to."
"I see you didn't get a deer this time," came from Rodney Morris, as he,
too, appeared at the doorway.
"Mercy on us, you can't expect them to get a deer every trip!" ejaculated
Mrs. Morris, who was bustling around the big open fire-place preparing
supper. "It's a wonder they start up anything at all around here, with all
the hunting that's going on."
"We got two wild turkeys and seven rabbits," said Henry. "We left two
rabbits at the Thompsons'. And, by the way, Mrs. Thompson is coming over in
a week or two to stay three days. Paul is going to Dennett's on business."
"I'll be glad to have her here," was the mother's reply. "Poor dear, I know
just how lonely she feels. Of course you said it would be all right."
"Yes, I said she'd be welcome."
"I'm so glad!" came from little Nell, as she brushed back the curls that
were flying around her face. "Mrs. Thompson is so nice! She can tell the
"A story-teller always makes a friend of Nell!" laughed her father. "Even
White Buffalo can charm her with what he has to say when it comes to
"White Buffalo is a nice Indian," answered the little miss promptly. "The
next time he comes here he said he would make me a big, big wooden doll,
with joints that would move, and glass beads for eyes."
"You won't fail to keep him busy, if he lets you," came from Dave, as he
kicked the snow from his feet and came into the cabin. He threw his game on
a bench and hung up his bag, musket, outer coat, and his hat. "Something
smells good in here," he declared.
"You've walked yourselves into an appetite," said Rodney. He picked up the
wild turkeys. "Good big fellows, aren't they? You've earned your supper."
The game was placed in a cold pantry, to be cleaned and dressed on the
morrow, and then the inmates of the cabin gathered around the table to
enjoy what Mrs. Morris had to offer.
It was a scene common in those days. The living-room floor was bare and so
was the long table, but both were scrubbed to a whiteness and cleanliness
that could not be excelled. On either side of the table were rude, but
substantial benches, and at the ends were chairs which had been in use for
several generations. In a corner of the room stood Mrs. Morris's
spinning-wheel and behind this was a shelf containing the family Bible,
half a dozen books, and a pile of newspapers which had been carefully
preserved from time to time, including copies of the "Pennsylvania
Gazette," edited by Benjamin Franklin, and also of the latter's
publications known as "Poor Richard's Almanack," full of quaint sayings and
maxims. Over the shelf were some deer's antlers and on these rested two
muskets, with the powder horns and bullet pouches hanging beneath. Behind
the door stood another musket, loaded and ready for use, should an enemy or
a wild beast put in an unexpected appearance.
With no tablecloth, one could scarcely look for napkins, but a towel hung
handy, upon which one might wipe his fingers after handling a bone. The
dishes were far from plentiful and mostly of a sort to stand rough usage.
Coffee and milk were drunk from bowls with narrow bottoms and wide tops,
and sometimes these bowls served also for corn mush and similar dishes.
Forks had been introduced and also regular eating knives, but old hunters
and trappers like James Morris and Sam Barringford preferred to use their
hunting knives with which to cut their food, and Barringford considered a
fork rather superfluous and "dandified."
When all were assembled, Joseph Morris said grace, and then Mrs. Morris
brought in what she had to offer - some fried bacon, a pot of baked beans,
apple sauce made from several strings of dried apples brought from the loft
of the cabin, and fresh bread, just from the hot stones of the fireplace.
All fell to without delay, and while eating Dave and Henry told the
particulars of the hunt just ended. It was not an elaborate meal, but it
was much better than many of their neighbors could afford, and the Morrises
were well content.
"I think you were wise to go out to-day," said James Morris, after the
young hunters had told their story. "There is another storm in the air and
it won't be long in settling down."
"It is going to be a long, hard winter, father," answered Dave.
"What makes you say that?"
"Henry said so. He found a squirrel's nest just loaded with nuts."
"Certainly a pretty good sign, for the squirrels know just about how long
they have got to keep themselves in food before spring comes."
"I hope it stays clear for a day longer," put in Joseph Morris. "I am
looking for Sam Barringford. He went to Bedford for me, and if it should
snow, traveling for him will be bad."
"Sam won't mind a little snowstorm," came from Henry. "He has been out in
the heaviest kind of a storm more than once."
After the evening meal, the whole family gathered around the open
fire-place and an extra log was piled on the blaze. As nobody seemed to
want to read, the tallow candle was extinguished and saved for another
occasion, for candles were by no means as plentiful as some of my youthful
readers may imagine. They were all of home manufacture and the making of
them was no easy task.
BARRINGFORD'S STRANGE DISCOVERY
The new cabin of the Morrises, built after the burning of the old, was
somewhat similar in shape to that which had been reduced to ashes. There
was the same small bedroom at the north end, which, as before, had been
turned over to Dave and Henry. But this room boasted of two windows instead
of one, each fitted with a heavy wooden shutter, to be closed in winter or
during an attack by the Indians.
The old four-post bedstead, of walnut and hickory, with its cords of
rawhide, was gone, and in its stead the Morrises had built a wide bunk
against the inner wall of the apartment, with a mattress of straw and a
pillow of the same material, for feathers were just then impossible to
obtain. Under the window was a wide bench made of a half log, commonly
called a puncheon bench, and the flooring was likewise of puncheons, that