Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

. (page 24 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 24 of 193)
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Paull iu his flight was followed by two Indians, but.
he felt that his life was at stake, and strained his
limbs to their utmost speed, regardless of the pain \
his disabled foot. His pursuers found that he wasi
gaining on them and fired after him, but their shots:
passed harmlessly by. He soon came to the bluff
bank of a small stream, and unhesitatingly IcapSd
down. The savages came up to the bank, but there
I gave up the pursuit. He soon discovered that he \
no longer followed, but he was still very cautious in
his movements, using every precaution to cover his
trail. That night he slept in the hollow trunk of a
! fallen tree.

I From this time he pursued his way unmolested.
Passing down Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Mus-
I kingum, he came to the main stream at a place where
it was too deep to ford, which compelled him to
change his course up the river to a shallow place,
where he crossed in safety and with ease. Ne
, by this crossing was an old Indian camp, "where
there were a large number of empty kegs and barrels i



lying scattered around. It was now nearly dark ; so
he built a fire — the first he had ventured to kindle
since his escape from the ambuscade — and cooked
some of his venison (he had shot a deer in this day's
journey, it being the first time he had dared to dis-
charge his gun, for fear it might bring Indians upon
I him); the smoke, as he lay down to rest for the
night, protecting him from the gnats and mosquitoes,
which were very troublesome."

Two days after he made this night-camp on the
Muskingum, James PauU reached the west bank of
the Ohio River at a point a short distance above the
present site of Bridgeport. A little higher up the
river he found a favorable place for crossing, and
building a rude raft he ferried himself to the Virginia
side without much difiiculty, and for the first time
since the evening of the disastrous 5th of June felt
himself absolutely secure against capture.

Near the place where he landed on Virginia soil
he found a number of horses running loose. Impro-
vising a halter of twisted strips of elm bark, he com-
menced operations, having for their object the catch-
ing of one of the animals. For a long time his efforts
were unavailing, but necessity compelled him to per-
severe, and at lust he succeeded in placing his rude
halter-bridle on the head of a rather debilitated old
mare, on whose back he then mounted and started on
bis homeward journey. At Short Creek he procured
another horse and proceeded to Catfish (now Wash-
ington, Pa.), where he stopped for some time on
account of his foot being badly inflamed and very
painful. This soon became better under proper treat-
ment, and he returned home to Lis overjoyed mother,
who had been apprised of his arrival at Catfish, but
who had previously almost abandoned all hope of
ever again seeing her son.

John Slover and the two other men who had been
made prisoners by the Shawanese party at the time
when PauU made his escape from them were taken
by their captors back to the Indian main body on the
Plains, and thence to the Shawanese towns on Mad
River, which they reached on the lltli of June. On
their arrival they were received by an Indian crowd
such as always collected on such an occasion, and
were made to "run the gauntlet" between two files
of squaws and boys for a distance of some three
hundred yards to the council-house. One of the men
had been painted black (though why the Indians had
thus discriminated against this man does not appear),
and he was made a special target for the abuse and
blows of the barbarous gang. He reached the door
of the council-house barely alive, but was then pulled
liark and beaten and mangled to death, his body cut
in iiieces, and these stuck on poles about the village.

Slover and the other man ran the gauntlet without
fatal or very serious injury, but the latter was sent
away the same evening to another village, and no
more was heard of him. As to Slover, l;e was kept

at the village for two weeks, during which time coun-
cils were held daily and war-dances every night, to all
of which he was invited and most of which he at-
tended.' The Indians also assigned to him a squaw
as a companion, with whom he lived in comparative
freedom during his stay at the village.' Finally, a
council was held, at which it was decided that he
should be put to death by torture.

The next day "about forty warriors, accompanied
by George Girty, an adopted Delaware, a brother of
Simon and James Girty,'' came early in the morning
round the house where Slover was. He was .sitting
before the door. The squaw gave him up. They
put a rope around his neck, tied his arms behind his
back, stripped him naked, and blacked him in the
usual manner. Girty, as soon as he was tied, cursed
him, telling him he would get what he had many years
deserved. Slover was led to a town about five miles
away, to which a messenger had been dispatched to
desire them to prepare to receive him. Arriving at
the town, he was beaten with clubs and the pipe-ends
of their tomahawks, and was kept for some time tied
to a tree before a house-door. In the mean time the
inhabitants set out for another town about two miles
distant, where Slover was to be burnt, and where he
arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon. They
were now at Mac-a-chack, not far from the present site
of West Liberty, in Logan County. Here there was
a council-house also, as at Wapatomica,* but only a
part of it was covered. In the part without a roof was
a post about sixteen feet in height. Around this, at a
distance of about four feet, were three piles of wood
about three feet high. Slover was brought to the post,
his arms again tied behind him, and the thong or cord
with which they were bound was fastened to it. A rope
was also put about his neck and tied to the post about
four feet above his head. While they were tying him
the wood was kindled and began to flame. Just then
the wind began to blow, and in a very short time the
rain fell violently. The fire, which by this time had
begun to blaze considerably, was instantly extin-
guished. The rain lasted about a quarter of an

The savages were amazed at this result, and per-
haps regarded it as an interposition of the Great
Spirit oti behalf of the prisoner. Tliey finally de-
cided to allow him to remain alive until morning.

ri- was not present. Tile war-
!,.«• With wlioni he liveil would
L largo quantity of sliirig. It

ireil wunia be nnivcd at,— to burn him.''— Kii«erftWii Eij ciUiU

ai„s( S„,„lm!.ij.

I James anJ George Girly, as well as Cart. Matthew Elliott, of the Bri

1 service, were present at the Shawnnese town, and took put in th

dian ctnincils before mentioned.

< The Indian village to which he had first been taken.

''• Buttorfleld'a** Expedition against Sandusky."



when, as they said, they would recommence the tor-
ture, and devote the whole day to it. He was then
unbound and made to sit on the ground, where he
was beaten, kicked, and otherwise maltreated by the
Indians, who continued dancing round him and yell-
ing till nearly midnight. Three guards were then de-
tailed to watch him during the rest of the night; he
was again bound and taken to a house, where a rope
was fastened about his neck and tied to a Ijeam of the
house. His guards kept awake taunting him about !
the torture he was to endure until towards morning,
when two of them fell asleep, and not long afterwards j
the other followed their example. Soon they were
all asleep, and when he was entirely sure that they [
were so Slover commenced attempts to unbind him-
self. He had comparatively little difficulty in slipping
the cords from one of liis wrists, which left him at
liberty to work at the rope around his neck. This he j
found much more securely tied, and he began to de-
spair of loosening it, as the daylight had begun to
appear and the Indians would soon be on the alert. ;
At last, however, he succeeded in untying the knots, i
and rose from his painful position, free, but still in
the greatest danger of discovery.

Stepping softly over the sleeping warriors, he quickly
left the house, and ran through the village into a corn-
field. Near by he saw several Imliaii horses grazing, j
and having with no little difficulty cauulit cue of these,
using the rope with which l-.e had bicn buund as a
halter, he mounted and away, tirst slowly, then
more rapidly, and finally with all the speed of which j
the animal was capable. Xo alarm had been given
in the village, and he had therefore reason to believe
that the Indians were still ignorant of his escape.

Slover forced the horse to his utmost speed for a
long time, but gradually his jiaee slackened and grew
slower and slower until aljout two o'clock in the after-
noon, when, finding it impossible to urge him beyond j
a walking gait, he dismounted, left the animal, and
pushed on on foot. He had heard the distant halloo-
ing of Indians behind him, showing him that he was i


but he kept on, using every precaution to
cover his trail as he proceeded. Ko Indians appeared,
and he traveled on without a moment's stop until ten
o'clock at night, when, being very sick and vomiting,
he halted to rest for two hours. At midnight the
moon rose, and he jiroceeded on, striking a trail,
which lie kc].t lill dayli-ht, and then, as a measure
of precaution, 1-lt ii. and struck through the woods
along a ridge at a right angle from his previous course.
This he continued for about fifteen miles, and then
changed to what he judged to be his true course.
From this point he met with no specially notable ad-
venture. On the third day he reached the Muskin-
gum, on the next he reached and crossed the Still-
water, and in the evening of the fifth day of his flight
he camped within five miles of Wheeling. Up to this
time he had not closed his eyes in sleep since he left
his cabin and squaw companion at Wapatomica.

Early on the following morning he came to the
Ohio River opposite the island at Wheeling, and see-
ing a man on the other side, called to him, and finally
induced him to come across and take him over in his
canoe, though at first he was very suspicious and un-
willing to cross to the west shore. On the 10th of
July Slover reached Fort Pitt.

Col. Crawford's nephew, William Crawford,' the
colonel's son-in-law, William Harrison,- and John
McClelland, of Fayette County, the third major of'
the expeditionary force, all lost their lives at the
hands of the Indian barbarians. It has already been,
noticed that when the unfortunate colonel was at
Pomoacan's headquarters, on the niglit before he
suffered the torture, he was told by Simon Girty that,
his nephew and son-in-law had been taken prisoners
but pardoned by the chiefs. This false story of their
escape from death reached the settlements by some
means, and the hearts of their relatives and friendsi
were thus cheered by hopes of their ultimate return.

No particulars of the time or manner of the deaths
of Harrison, McClelland, or young Crawford are
known, except that McClelland was shot from his
horse in the first attack by the Delawarcs and Shaw-
anese on the night of the 5th, but the fact of their
killing by the savages was established by John Slover,
who, on coming to the upper Shawanese town on the
evening of the 11th of June, saw there tlie mangled
bodies of three men bloody, powder-burned, and
mutilated, who, the Indians assured him, had been
killed just before his arrival ; and two of these he at
once recognized as the bodies of Harrison and young
Crawford. The other he was not entirely sure of, but
had no doubt that it was the corpse of Maj. McCl
land. At the same time the Indians pointed out two
horses, and asked him if he recognized them, to which
he answered that he did, and that they were the ones
which had been ridden by Harrison and Crawford, to
which the Indians replied that he was correct.

John Crawlbrd, the colonel's son, kept with Wil-
liamson's forces on their retreat to the Ohio, and
reached his home on the Youghiogheny in safety.
He afterwards removed to Kentucky, and died in that
State soon after his settlement there.

Philip Smith' was, as we have seen, an active par
ticipant in the battle of June 4th, in which he received
a wound in the elbow. When the retreat commenced
on the night of the 5th, he and a companion named

1 Son of V.-ilentine Crawford, of Foj-ette County.
- Husband of tin.* bcuutiful S.irHb Crawford, the colonel's d.iugbtc
3 At tliB lime when he volanteercd for Crawford's expedition, PI
Sinitb was a resident of tbat part of Westmoreland County wliicli t
after becjune Fnyetto. bis home being on a small tributary of George
Crcl,, s .;:,,,: ! I I ;i I, n_- n II, the expedition (in 17841 he ror
to 01,1 , '-,1' .luring the remainder of bis lift,

Hf«.- ii !■ ! . I , ■>! i, in ITOl.anddiedin Kabt 1
t,,\Mi.l.i: , w ,,;,,■.,., o'li , M , h JT, 1838. Several of bis di ldi<



Kankin became separated from their company, and i
found themselves under the necessity of shifting for
themselves. Both had lost their horses, and they \
were without provisions, but had their guns and am- |
munition. They struck off from the track of the [
troops, and for two days were successful in evading
the savages. Most of their traveling was done by
night. They suffered greatly for food, for, though I
there was plenty of game, they were afraid to shoot
it, for fear that the noise of their pieces would bring I
Indians upon them. They ate berries and roots, and
once or twice were fortunate enough to catch young
birds. Afterwards they found an Indian pony, which
(not daring to shoot) Smith killed with his tomahawk
after repeated ineffectual strokes at it. The liver of
the animal was then taken out and broiled, and it
made what seemed to them a delicious meal.

On the night of the 7th, as they were moving along,
they were overtaken by two other fugitives, mounted.
The four now traveled on together for a time, when,
on a sudden, as they had stopped at a stream, a party
of Indians fired on them from the high bank, and the
two mounted men tumbled from their horses, dead.
Smith had just stooped to drink at the stream, and a
ball whizzed over his head; but he was unhurt, and
seizing the gun of one of the dead horsemen, he
leaped up the opposite bank and fled, but soon threw
away his gun. His companion, Rankin, had also
escaped injury from the Are of the savages, and was
running for life ahead of Smith. As the latter pressed
on towards him, Rankin, thinking that it was an
enemy who was pursuing, turned to shoot him, but
Smith saved himself by taking to a tree. This was
repeated three times, but finally Rankin discovered
that he was being pursued, not by an enemy, but by
his companion, Smith. The latter then joined him,
and the two ran on together and made their escape,
traveling all night, and making no halt until the
middle of the next forenoon, when they suddenly
came upon an Indian camp, which appeared to have
been very recently left by the party who had occu-
pied it, as the fires were still burning, and a kettle of
hominy was on one of them cooking. The fugitives
were half famished, but dared not eat the inviting
mess, fearing that it might have been poisoned. But
there was another object lying near the fire which
sent the blood curdling to their hearts. It was the
still warm dead body of a man who had been mur-
dered by the Indians and scalped, evidently while
alive, as the marks showed that he had drawn his
hand across the scalp- wound several times and
smeared his face with blood from it. It was a sick-
ening spectacle, and they were glad to fly from it
and from the dangerous proximity of the camp-fire,
where they were liable at any moment to be sur-
prised by the return of the savages.

They moved on in haste, and from that time saw
no Indians, nor any sign of any, though during the
succeeding night they heard whoopings, apparently a

long distance from them. At this warning they put
out their fire and moved away, traveling the rest of
the night. During the remainder of their flight no
incident of an exciting nature occurred, and on the
ninth day of their journey they reached the left bank
of the Ohio, foot-sore, famished, and emaciated, but
safe beyond reach of their savage enemies.

Nicholas Dawson (whose home was in what is now
North Union township, Fayette Co.) was one of the
volunteers under Crawford. In the disorder of the
night of the 5th of June he became separated from
his command and wandered away, with nothing to
guide him in the right direction. While attempting
thus to make his way alone he was met by James
Workman and another straggler, who saw that he
was heading towards Sandusky, and consequently
running directly into danger instead of escaping
from it. They tried to convince him that he was
wrong, but he obstinately insisted that he was not.
Finding it impossible to persuade him to change his
course, they at last told him that as he would cer-
tainly be taken by the Indians if he kept on, and as
it was better for him to die by the hands of wjiite
men than to be tortured by savages, they were deter-
mined to shoot him then and there unless he con-
sented to turn his course and go w^ith them. This
was an unanswerable argument, and Dawson finally
yielded to it, though with a very bad grace. He
changed his route, joined company with the two men,
and so succeeded in making his escape, and arrived
in safety at his home beyond the Monongahela.

John Sherrard, a private in the Sandusky expedi-
tion, was a man well and favorably known among the
early residents of Fayette County, and as he was also
one of Col. Crawford's most valuable men, it is not
improper to make special mention of his services and
adventures in the campaign. He does not come into
particular notice until the afternoon of June 4th,
when the northern and western borders of the grove
known as Battle Island were fringed with the fire of
the Pennsylvanians' rifles. In that conflict he held
his own with the best among the volunteers, until in
the excitement of the fight he drove a ball into the
barrel of his rifle without any powder behind it, and
by this means disarmed himself by rendering his
piece useless.

From this time he employed himself in bringing
water to his comrades in the grove from a stagnant
pool which he discovered beneath the roots of an up-

'; turned tree. This employment lacked the pleasur-
able excitement which was with the marksmen on the
battle-line, but it was quite as dangerous, for the balls
whistled past him continually as he pa.ssed to and
fro ; and it was also a service which could not be

1 dispensed with, for the battle-ground was entirely
without water (the river being more than a mile
awav\ and the terrible heat of the afternoon brought



extreme thirst to the brave men who held the flaming
line on the edge of the timber. Sherrard performed
this service well, and was uninjured by the bullets
which flew so thickly about him.

Again, on the 5th (his rifle being still unserviceable
for the reason before noticed), he was employed as a
water-carrier to the skirmishers. Years afterwards
he spoke of his experience on that day as follows :
" After searching the grove around I was fortunate
enough to find another supply, and again busied my-
self relieving the men of my company. At length,
overcome with heat and fatigue, I sat down at the
foot of a large oak-tree, and in a short time fell asleep.
How long I slept I cannot say. I was aroused by
some bark falling upon my head from above, which
had been knocked off the tree by the enemy. I then
resumed my task of carrying water."

In the disorder of the retreat on the night of the
"ith, Sherrard, like many others, became separated
irom his command, and being left in the extreme
rear, followed as well as he was able the trail of the
three divisions which took the route to the southwest
of the prescribed line of march. With him was
Daniel Harbaugh, also irom Fayette County, and to-
gether these two moved on in the darkness, expecting
every moment to_ be coiiiVontcd by Indians, but in
some unaccountable way they escaped discovery by
the savages during the night. Early in the following
morning, as they were riding through the woods, an
Indian was seen skulking in the undergrowth to their
left. Sherrard, who was first to see the savage, in-
stantly dismounted and took cover behind a tree, at
the same time warning Harbaugh to take a like pre-
caution. The latter not seeing the Indian and mis-
apprehending the direction of tlio danger took the
wrong side of his tr( c, nml luiirj thus fully exposed
was immediately shut, i.i i\ inj ilio fatal bullet in his
right breast. He sunk to die eartli, moaning, " Lord
liave mercy on me! I am a dead man," and died in a
few moments. Sherrard, with his gun at his shoulder,
watched closely for the Indian, intending to send a
l)ullet through him, but the smoke of the savage's
rifle hid him for a few seconds, and when this cleared
away Sherrard saw him running for his life and
beyond the range of his piece.

Slierrard examined the body of his fallen compan-
ion and found that life was extinct. The ghastly fea-
tures of the dead man and the suddenness of the event
horrified and almost unmanned him, but, collecting
liis thoUL'hts, in a mdiiioiit he took the saddle and bri-

ook fi-

die from
Then he I
comfortaljle saddle i
substituting for it tl
from Harhaugh's h
He had not gone far, 1

rse and turned him loose,
vu horse the rude and un-
rli 111' had been riding, and
111 niic which he had taken
lie mciunted and rode on.
ivever, before he recollected

lat in his excitement he had left behind his blanket
and provisions strapped to the abandoned saddle.
In his present situation he could not think of losing

these, so he returned to secure them. On reaching
the spot he found that the savage had returned,
stripped the scalp from Harhaugh's head, and cap-
tured the dead man's horse, bridle, and gun. But he
had not discovered the abandoned saddle, and Sher-
rard found it with the blanket and provisions undis-
turbed. These he at once secured, and having done
so left the spot and rode swiftly away. No more In-
dians were encountered by him, and two or three
hours later he had the good fortune to come up witli
the retreating force under Maj. ^Villiamson. Soon
after he rejoined his company, the battle of the 6th
of June (at Olentangy Creek) occurred, as has been

From this place Sherrard marched with the column
on its retreat to Mingo Bottom, and arrived in safety
at his home, which at that time was at the house of
Mrs. Paull, the mother of James. To her he brought ii
the sad intelligence that her son was missing, and had '
not been seen nor heard of since the night of the 5th,
wdien the troops left Battle Island. This ominous re-
port nearly crushed the widowed mother, but she wa
afterwards made happy by the return of her son i
safety, as we have seen.

Some of the stragglers from the retreating column
under Williamson had reached the Ohio considerably
in advance of the main body. These stragglers ir
mediately returned to their homes, and spread through
the frontier settlements the most alarming and exag-
gerated reports' of ■ the disaster which had befallen
the expedition. These reports not only caused great
grief and extreme anxiety for the fate of relatives
and friends wlio were with the forces of Col. Craw-
ford, but the wildest consternation also, for it was
feared and believed that the victorious savages — red
and white — ivould soon be across the Ohio, and would
carry devastation and butchery to the valleys of the
Monongahela and Y'ougliiogheny. When the grief
and anxiety of the people was to a great extent al-
layed by the return of the volunteers, and the conse-
quent discovery that the disaster was by no means i
overwhelming as had at first been reported, the dreads
of Indian invasion still remained, and the bold fron-.
tiersmen, discarding the idea of waiting for the coming i
of the foe and then merely standing on the defensive,
began at once to urge the forming of a new expedi-
tion to carry the war into the heart of the Indian i
country, and to prosecute it to the point of extermi-
nation, or at least to the destruction of the Wyandot,
Delaware, and Shawanese towns, for they believed thati

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 24 of 193)