Emerson Bennett.

Forest and prairie or, Life on the frontier online

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AvnoR or "the prairie flower," "the bandits of the 0iA«i»"









$Mnnsillr&tti& Inpmr,








Tn« Mingo Chief 1C

The Kentucky Hero 27

The Maid of Fort Henry 39

Wrecked on the Lake 56

A Leap for Life 80

A Desperate Encounter 69

Love Triumphant 90

Mad Ann 103

The Daring Scouts 115

The Gamblers Outwitted 125

A Fight on the Prairie 135

An Arkansas Duel 146

The Poisoned Bride 158

Attacked by Indians 169

The Trapper's Story 180

A Miraculous Escape 189

A Mother's Courage 2<>3

A Daring Exploit 215

Rocky Mountain Perils 232

The Dead Alive 245

Fight with a Bear 259




Thb Haunted House 269

Bill Luken's Run 285

The Faithful Negro 298

The Guerrilla Qujsen 310

The Last Stake 320

Adventure of a Colporteur 333

A Night with the Wolves 344

Colonel Bowie of Arkansas 355

The Backwoodsman's First Love 372

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothikg 387

0* THB SCOCT 400

%%t §li»p (SiTnitt

We talk of the ferocity, the vindictiveness, the treachery
and the cruelty of the native savage ; and, painting him
in the darkest colors, tell how, when his hunting grounds
covered the sites of our now proudest cities, he was wont
to steal down upon a few harmless whites, our forefathers,
and butcher them in cold blood, sparing neither sex nor
age, except for a painful captivity, to end perhaps in
the most demoniac tortures ; and we dwell upon the
theme, till our little innocent children shudder and creep
close to our sides, and look fearfully around them, and
perhaps wonder how the good God, of whom they have
also heard us speak, could ever have permitted such human
monsters to encumber His fair and beautiful earth. But
do we reverse the medal and show the picture which
impartial Truth has stamped upon the other side — and
which, in a great measure, stands as a cause to the oppo-
§ite effect — stands as a cause for savage ferocity, vindic-
tiveness, treachery and cruelty ? Do we tell our young

and eager listeners that the poor Indian, living up to the



light he had, and not unfrequently beyond it, knew no
better than to turn, like tne worm when trampled upon,
and bite the foot that crushed him ? That we had taken
the land of his father's graves and driven him from his
birthright hunting grounds ? That we had stolen his cat-
tle, robbed him of his food, destroyed his growing fields,
burned his wigwams, and murdered his brothers, fathers,
wives and little ones, besides instigating tribe to war
against tribe — and that, knowing nothing of the Christian
code, to return good for evil, he fulfilled the law of his
nature and education in taking his "great revenge" upon
any of the pale-faced race he should chance to meet ? No!
we seldom show this side of the medal — for the natural
inquiry of the innocent listener might contain an unplea-
sant rebuke :

" Father, were we all savages together then ?"

But I have a story to tell. Listen !

More than eighty years ago, when the great West was a
howling wilderness, and mighty, unbroken forests stretched
away for hundreds of miles, and covered the broad, fertile
lands of Western Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Ken-
tucky, and so onward to the vast prairies beyond the
Father of Rivers, the unrivalled Mississippi — forests that
threw twilight over the gliding, purling, or rushing
streams, and gave wild freedom to the bear, the buffalo,
the panther, catamount, and deer — more than eighty years


ago, I say, on a fine, pleasant spring day, a party of
border hunters were encamped upon the left bank of the
Ohio, above the present site of Wheeling, which then
boasted only a single trading fort, and was considered the
extreme frontier.

This party numbered more than a dozen strong, hardy
bronze-visaged men. dressed in true border fashion, with
green hunting frocks, caps, buckskin trowsers, leggings
and moccasins, and they were armed with rifles, toma-
hawks, and knives. They had built themselves a tempo-
rary cabin, and had fished and hunted in the vicinity for
several days; and furs, and game, and articles of traffic were
jtrewn carelessly about their cabin, which had been erected
rather for the purpose of protecting their goods and
weapons from the weather than for sheltering themselves,
for your true borderer likes to sleep in the open air.
The party was about to break up camp and return to the
eastward ; and some were packing their furs and skins, and
some were cleaning their rifles, and some were mending
their torn garments, and some were lounging idly about,
smoking and drinking, and stretching their huge limbs, and
wishing for some keen excitement to rouse their sluggish

The leader of this party — a man of fair proportions, but
with low brow, bushy hair, a snaky eye, and a red, rough,
ferocious-looking countenance— was standing apart from


the others, leaning upon his rifle, thinking wicked thoughts
and planning wicked deeds. Suddenly he wheeled about,
and drawing near his men, said, in a hard, harsh voice :

"Boy's, this here's a — bad business, going back with-
out nary scalp. What'll the people think of us ? I tel
you, boys, we must raise some red-nigger top-knots, or our
reputation '11 spile, by !"

" Thar's Injuns 'tother side the river," replied a big,
♦double-fisted, coarse-featured fellow, who was smoking his
pipe, with his back braced against a huge sycamore ;
" 'spose you jest go over, Cap, and take what you want !"

"It moughten't be so easy gitting back," replied the
first speaker ; " and I hain't no incline to take a scalp
at the risk of mine. If we could only get a few of the
heathen over here 1"

"Why, so you can, Cap, if you'll only keep quiet, for
there comes a few now," answered the other, taking his
corn-cob pipe from his mouth, and pointing with the stem
across the river to a canoe filled with Indians.

"By ! Sam !" cried the first speaker, using an oath

that we will not repeat, "I hope they'll come across. If
they do, we'll have fun. I'll go down and beckon >ein

And hastening down to the water's edge, the leader of
the whites made friendly signs to the Indians in the canoe,
inviting them to cross the river to his camp.


And the Indians came across, without apparent fear or
hesitation — five men, and one woman with an infant in her
arms. Two of the men, one quite advanced in years, were
fine, athletic, noble looking specimens of humanity; and
the woman, the daughter of one and the sister of the
other, was more than usually comely, and had a soft, dark
eye, a mild, pleasant-looking countenance, and a sweet,
musical voice. All landed and shook hands with the
Jeader of the whites, who seemed greatly pleased to meet
with them, and invited them up to his cabin to take a
drink. Three of the Indians readily accepted the invi-
tation ; but the three we have mentioned declined —
the venerable head of the party observing, with a smile :

" Rum no good for Injun — make drunk come. Me buy
tobac — tobac good for smoke."

And while three of the party entered the cabin and
drank the liquor proffered them, the other three, including
the woman with the infant, remained outside, and opened
a trade with the leader of the whites, for tobacco and
powder, paying for the same in the current coin of the
frontier, pelts and furs, of which they had on hand a
goodly stock.

An hour passed away in friendly barter, and then the
old man signified his intention of recrossing the river.
He stepped into the cabin, and found three of his party


ying on tne ground, and so much intoxicated as not to be
conscious of any thing going on around them.

"Ah! me said rum bad for poor Injun!" observed the
old warrior; "him take Injun sense, and make him worse
as beast."

He called his son to him, said something in his native
tongue, and the two were about to begin to remove their
helpless comrades, when the leader of the whites, who had
been holding a short consultation with his men, came in
and said :

"Afore you go, my boys, I want to see you shoot at a
mark. I hear you're some at a shot."

" Me hit dollar," returned the old man, with gratified

" Come on — we've put up the mark — and if you hit it,
I'll give you a pound of tobacco ; and if you don't, you're
to give me a deer skin."

The old warrior and his son went out and looked at the
mark, and the former said :

"Me bet."

"And will you try, too ?" said the leader of the whites
to the son of the Indian sage.

" Me bet," was the quiet answer.

" Fire away, then — you shoot first."

The son said something to his father, the old warrior


nodded and the young man, drawing himself up and
taking deliberate aim, fired.

" Hit, by !" said the white leader, as the white

mark, the size of a dollar, showed a hole near its centre.

««A good shot 1 Come, old man, let's see what you

can do !"

11 Me beat him," said the father, with a smile.

He raised his rifle slowly, brought it to a level, fired, and
drove the pin through the centre.

" Now, boys," said the white ruffian, " all right, give 'era
h— 11 !"

And at the word he raised his own rifle and shot the
old man through the brain, who fell back dead ; and the
next instant his son fell upon him, a ghastly corpse,
pierced by four bullets from as many rifles in the hands
of the whites. The poor woman with the infant in her
arms, who was standing apart from the crowd, looking
quietly on, uttered a shriek of horror on seeing her father
and brother thus inhumanly butchered, and, clasping her
offspring to her bosom, ran swiftly toward the river. But
crack went some half a dozen rifles, and she fell to the
earth, mortally wounded, but not dead. The first who
reached her was the leader of the whites, who, grasping
her infant roughly, raised his tomahawk to give the poor
innocent mother the finishing blow.


" Spare child !" shrieked the dying mother, with a look
of affectionate, pleading anguish, that would have melted
the heart of a stone. " Child got white fader— child one
of you — spare poor child 1"

She said no more, for the hatchet of the white fiend at
that instant crashed through her brain and set her spirit
free, to roam the hunting-grounds of her faith with the
spirits of her father and brother.

" Give me the child, Dan," said the brother of the white
leader, who reached his side just as he was about to dnah
out its brains. " I reckon I know its father, and we'll
make it pay."

The bloody ruffian gave him the infant, accompanied
with a savage oath; and whipping out his knife, he bent
over the dead mother and tore off her scalp. The whole
work of butchery was now complete ; for while these
events were taking place outside the cabin, another fiend
within had chopped to pieces the drunken Indians, and
now came swaggering forth, shaking three gory scalps in

" Now, boys," said the white leader, " we've got a good

rfhow, and let's make clean tracks afore some other

red -niggers get arter our hair."

And hastily they stripped the dead of every thing of
value, broke up their camp, and departed for the intenoi
settlements taking the poor motherless infant with them


Meantime, the Indians on the other side of the river,
being witnesses of the horrible massacre, hurried into their
only remaining canoe, and rowed swiftly down the Ohio.
On passing the fort at Wheeling they were espied, and
chase was given by a party of whites. Far below they
were overtaken, a short fight ensued, and another of their
party was killed — the others making their escape through
the deep dark forests

While the bloody events we have recorded were taking
place on the Ohio, a Grand Council of chiefs and warriors
was convened at the Indian town in the interior of what is
now the State of Ohio. They were deliberating upon the
propriety of digging up the hatchet and going to war
against the whites, who were fast encroaching upon their
homes and hunting-grounds, and, judging from precedents,
would soon require them to leave again for the still Fur
West. Most of the chiefs were for war ; but there was
one brave and eloquent man among them, who spoke for
peace, and spoke with such reason, power and pathos, that
he carried his point over strong opposition, and the pipe
of peace was smoked in the Council House of the assem-
bled nations.

This brave and eloquent chief had ever raised his voice
for peace between the white man and the red, because, as


he said, the same Great Spirit had made them all, and
designed them to be brothers; and the earth was large
enough, and rich enough, in forest, streams, and game, to
give them all shelter, food, and happy homes.

His earnest eloquence conquered the fiery war spirit of
his fierce comrades, and he was rejoicing in his peaceful
triumph, when lo ! a poor Indian, half dead with hunger
and fatigue, appeared before him, and told him how his
father, brother and sister had been brutally butchered by
his pale-faced friends. Instantly the dark eye of this
Chief of Peace gathered a storm of fire and shot forth
lightning glances of anger, and his mighty voice, before
the reassembled chiefs and warriors of many nations, was
soon heard thundering :

" War ! war I war ! — war upon the pale-faces ! — war
upon the Long Knives — death to all of either sex and
every age !"

And the cry of " War ! war ! war ! — death to the pale-
faces ! — death to the Long Knives 1" was echoed and re-
echoed, with wild, savage shouts, by many hundreds of
fiercely painted, half-naked, savage men.

And down upon the unprotected frontiers poured a
fierce, dusky horde of human beings, whose rallying war-
cry was,

"Revenge! Revenge 1"

And old men and infants, and young men and maidens,


and men in the prime of life, and wives and mothers, were
roused at the midnight hour by those yells of vengeance,
and were butchered in their cabins, scalped on their
hearthstones, and burned with their burning homes.

" I will have ten scalps for every kin of mine slain!" said
that Chief of Blood, so lately a Chief of Peace.

And ere the war, so terribly and suddenly begun, waa
closed by a treaty of peace, thirty human scalps, thirty
pale-fale scalps, hung dangling at his gory belt.

This war is known in history as Lord Dunmore's War.

That man of peace, roused to such bloody deeds by the
aggressions of his white brothers, was the world- renowned
Logan, the Mingo Chief !

The leader of the party who butchered his relatives,
was Daniel Greathouse.

The leader of the party who sallied from the fort at
Wheeling, and followed and slew one of the flying fugi-
tives, was Captain Cresap.

Logan always supposed it was Cresap who murdered
his relatives ; and in his celebrated speech, sent to Lord
Dunmore at the treaty of peace — for he proudly refused to
appear in person — he mentions him as the cauae of the
war. We quote this speech, delivered at old Chillicothe
town, and sent to Governor Dunmore at Camp Charlotte,
as one of the finest specimens of eloquence extant.

"I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered


Logan's cabin hungry and I gave him not meat — if ever
he came cold or naked and I gave him not clothing I

"During the course of the last long and bloody war,
Logan remained in his tent, an advocate for peace. Nay,
such was my love for the whites, that those of my own
country pointed at me as they passed, and said, ' Logan is
the friend of white men.' I had even thought to live wit a
you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the
last spring, in cool blood, and unprovoked, cut off all the
relatives of Logan, not sparing even my women and
children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the vein5
of any human creature. This called on me for revenge.
I have sought it. I have killed many. I have fully
glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the
beams of peace. Yet do not harbor the thought that
mine is the joy of fear ! Logan never felt fear. He will
not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to
mourn for Logan ? Not one."

Reader, you who are now sitting in judgment upon the
deeds of the past, I challenge you to say that the white
man was always the Christian and the red man always the
fiend 1

It was a wild, fearful scene — a scene of carnage and
destruction. Loud shrieks of pain, and yells of rage,
defiance, and triumph, commingled with reports of mus-
ketry, and here and there the clashing of steel, resounded
on every hand.

A small, but gallant, band of Kentuckians, were com-
pletely surrounded by an overpowering horde of dusky
savages, and were fighting desperately while falling vic-
tims to superior numbers — fighting for the hope of retreat,
but with none of victory.

The scene was partly in an open glade, and partly in a
surrounding forest, not far from the banks of the Ohio, in
what is now the State of Indiana, but which was then an
unapportioned and unsettled wilderness.

Over this open glade were hurrying hundreds of human
beings — some mounted and some on foot — some white, and
dressed in the rough costume of the borders — but more
of the dusky hue, half naked and hideously painted— and



all with passions excited to the fierce, ungovernable fury
of fighting wild beasts.

Many a riderless horse went snorting and bounding
away; while the ground was strewed with the iead and
dying — the latter soon ceasing from the agonies of life,
as the knife or tomahawk of either foe made his work sure.
There were old men and youths, and men in the prime of
manhood, all doing their duty bravely, and bearing down
the foe in close encounter, or being themselves borne down
to a bloody end.

Foremost among the Kentuckians, in the very hottest of
the fight, more desperate even than the oldest veterans,
rode a tall, fine-looking youth, who charged upon the foe
without regard to numbers or peril — and fast they fell
beneath the almost superhuman strength of his single arm.
Several times his horse was seized by the bit, and borne
back almost upon its haunches, while the uplifted tomahawk
was aimed at the head of the rider ; but with the quickness
of thought, and the strength of a Hercules, the blows were
parried right and left, and returned with a precision that
laid his opposers bleeding beneath the feet of the fiery
animal, which literally trampled them into the dust, as the
undaunted youth still urged him on to new scenes of peril
and victory.

"On, comrades !" he shouted — and his loud, shrill voice
was heard above the din of battle. " On, for the honor of


old Kentucky! Though surrounded ly four times our
number, we are not yet defeated ; and will not be while
there is an arm left to strike !"

Almost as he spoke, a shower of balls was poured in
upon him, some cutting his clothes, some wounding him
seriously, while his gallant steed sunk under him. Spring-
ing from the back of the falling beast, into the very midst
of his dusky foes, this noble youth, wounded and bleeding
though he was, still laid about him with desperation, the
balls whistling around him fearfully and a dozen arms
raised for his destruction.

Recklessly and desperately, however, alone and unaided,
he continued to fight his way through his savage foes,
back to the main body of his friends, where he arrived just
as the order came for retreat.

As several, who were mounted, wheeled their horses to
obey this welcome command, our hero dashed suddenly
in among them, and, seizing the bits of two animals, one
in either hand, he .fairly brought them round, and so
quickly as almost to throw their riders, at the same time
shouting :

" For shame ! for shame ! who dares retreat — by any
order — by any command — and leave our wcunded com-
rades to the vengeance of our foes ! Bear back, men —
if you be men — and let us bring off our companions witb

honor, or perish with them !"



But his valiant call was unheeded by those who thought
only of saving their own lives ; and the moment the youth
released his hold of their bridles, they dashed swiftly

" My curses go with you, for pusillanimous cowards !"
he shouted after them ; and then discovering another party
on foot, as eagerly retreating also, he threw himself iu
before them, and exclaimed :

" Hold ! I command you, by every feeling of honor, to
turn back and save the lives of our wounded friends !"

" Out of my way, boy!" said a tall, strapping fellow, as
he pushed eagerly forward to pass the youth : " you're not
our captain ! Haven't you heard the order for retreat ?
and don't you know, if you stand here a minute, you'll be
butchered aud scalped by the bloody varmints around,
who've hemmed us in ?"

" Yes ! yes 1" cried most of the rest ; "Joe Hinkins says
right !»

" We'll all be killed if we stop here !" said one.

" Turn back, Bill, and don't make a fool of yourself \ n
cried another.

" If we'd attempt to save the wounded, we'd purty soon
want somebody to save us !" put in a third.

" There, boys — the red devils are a-coming like mad !"
shouted a fourth.

With this t) ey all set up cries of alarm, and plunged


into the nearest thicket, where they met the very doom
they were seeking to avoid — for there a considerable body
of Indians fell upon them, and, gaining an advantage
through their surprise and terror, tomahawked and scalped
them to a man.

With a cheek red with shame, our young hero now
darted forward and intercepted still another party, who
had likewise begun their flight — and this time his appeal
was listened to. Turning back, they stopped a small
mounted party; and getting them to dismount, they be-
gan to pick up the wounded wherever they could find
them, and place them upon the horses — which, as fast as
loaded, they dispatched with a small escort toward the
Ohio, nearly half a mile distant — the youth still exerting
himself to cheer all parties.

While thus engaged in their work of mercy, a body of
Indians, about twice their number, came rushing down
npon them ; and another terrible encounter took place ;
during which the youth was struck by some four or five
more balls — one shattering his left arm, three inflicting
flesh-wounds upon different parts of his body, but none of
them, fortunately, touching a vital part.

Finding the victory not so easy as they expected, several
of their number having either been killed or wounded in
this new encounter, the assailing Indians suddenly drew
back from our dauntless little band, and set off in pursuit


of those who, judging from the eagerness of their 3ight,
would not be likely to make so desperate a stand.

" Three cheers for us, comrades !" cried the youth.

Three cheers were accordingly given, with hearty good
will ; and then they recommenced gathering up their
wounded friends, there being now several of their own
immediate party to be assisted likewise.

In his different encounters thus far, our young hero had
broken every weapon — his rifle, knife, and tomahawk —
and he now proceeded to re-arm himself. Having found
and thrust two weapons into his belt, he picked up a rifle,
and, holding it between his knees, his left arm hanging
useless by his side, he coolly proceeded to load it with
his right, all the while speaking encouragingly to those
around him. By the time this was completed, his com-
panions were ready to set out for the river ; but just as
they were about to depart, a voice ^rom another quarter of
the field cried out :

" Save me ! save me ! For the lore >f (jrod, gave me 1"

"I know that voice," said the yoafcti; "It is a brave
fellow who calls on us ; and we mus* <&ve bin* at all
hazards !"

" I fear it's more than we can do to s.a, 7 e ourselves,"
returned one; "the cursed Indians are at wor'? all around
as ; and if we escape as it is, it'll be a miracle.

"Save me!" called out the voice again; "in hamftrM" i

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Online LibraryEmerson BennettForest and prairie or, Life on the frontier → online text (page 1 of 22)